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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,282 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:
2,282
Ratings:
5,215
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
335
Gots:
826
For Trade:
12
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Reviews: 2,282 | Ratings: 5,215
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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Photo of CrellMoset
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a Watou chalice.

Appearance: A deep, slightly-hazed orange-bodied, ruddy amber beer. A good one-finger head rises and stays around for a great long time, considering the "head-killing" nature of the glass. Great sticky lacing. Sparse and fine, pinprick lacing rises slowly towards the surface.

Aroma: Hints of earthy yeast funk, simple candy sugar, tart citrus, and plenty of good, spicy hop notes.

Taste: Never what you expect from looking at it. Sure, there's a solid, grainy, earthy, bready backbone, lightly roasted with hints of caramel, as well as some lighter, sweeter, simpler candy sugar notes. But the real unique aspect of this beer is, obviously, the hops - tons of tart, dry lemon zest, apricot, and spicy, earthy, vegetal dry hop notes which follow you through to the finish. Earthy, spicy funk - definitely imparted by the Brett - close this one out. Truly unique.

Mouthfeel: Big bodied and fluffy, medium-sized bubbles that are consistently even, not thin, but not thick either - a few hints of hop oils make things nice and slick.

Drinkability: Wonderfully complex and unique, low in alcohol, not sweet or cloying - what's not to love about this historical beer?

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Updated from a previous review: Pours beautifully amber with a keen, pillowy head. Less 'gush' than I anticipated, but still plenty of carbonation to be found.
Moderately funky in taste, with some peppery notes in there amongst the lemon/pear fruit layers that I am getting a feel for. This reminds me of boiled sweets (candies) enjoyed long ago back in Europe, the sugar sweetness is lively and zesty and brings to mind sugar cookies also. Some herbiness comes in on the back end here too.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pears, herbs, apple, wood, damp earth in the nose. Mushrooms and tropical fruit. White pepper. Farmy brett comes out more and more with each whiff. Spicy herbal hops. Wet stone, mineral water. Juicy fruit and chamomile. Something new comes out with each whiff.

Hazy golden amber/orange with large frothy off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Tons of bubbles.

Rush of sweet fruits, apricots, and mango followed quickly with bitter spicy hops, and graham cracker malt and honey coming up as well. Bitter orange peel, perhaps even the pith. Grapefruit and pomelo. White pepper and grains of paradise. Sweet impression upfront finishing bone dry.

Medium light body with the highest carbonation. Stinging fine bubbles. Bright and snappy.

I seem to have this more often with more age on it. The balance of hop character and funk is quite nice in this one.

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Photo of kellyst
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy gold with a pillowy white head. There is nice lacing throughout the glass. Aroma is of spicy hops, citrus, and leather, and begs for you to take a sip. Flavor follows the aroma, with spicy hop flavors and a backgorund of graininess. This is a very dry and hoppy beer. The dryness makes this beer a standout, and also makes it very drinkable for 6.9% abv. Had it back to back with Goose Island Matilda, which supposedly is an homage to Orval. Matilda might be a little more complex, and is definately not as dry and hoppy. I give a slight edge to Orval.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 1/30/07, best before date of 1/30/12 so I think I'm in the clear here.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish brownish color (sort of like laqured wood) with a big and puffy inch and a half off white head that fades rather quickly into a thin cap. Big and bubbly as well with nice pockets of carbonation bubbling along the sides of the glass. The only thing I don't like is the head is not as luxurious as I was hoping for and the lacing was a bit lacking but that was probably my fault.

S: Sweet candied sugar with a big yeasty funk, delicate fruity aromas peek through the yeast just enough to be noticed. Also, I am crazy or does this stuff smell like potpourri?

T/MF: Yeasty and along with a great deal of carbonation that balloons in the mouth and tickles the tongue. This one also has quite a deal of spicy herbal tones along with bits of apple and grapefruit intermixed that increases as the beer warms, an interesting balance to say the least. Has a sort of sour aftertaste as soon as the beer is swallowed but becomes a bit floral and fruity after a bit and is quite enjoyable.

D: Damn well balanced beer in every respect, not overpowering in any way, shape or form, just solid in the taste department every respect. It's going to be real hard to top this one.

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Photo of amicar
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours from one of the nicest looking bottles in the business. Light copper- orange with a fluffy large white head. Smell is of banannas and bubble- gum with some slight spice and orange. Taste is really nice- again, spicy, herbal, with slight undertones of pepper and orange. Stays in the throat and persists for awhile, changing all the way. Quite dry and refreshing; Amazing with food- the dry crisp acidity of it cuts through even rich and spicy foods; and it tastes even richer with food. Easy to drink it; really lovely.

Overall, another world- class trappist. Those that don't love it just need to have it with food- that's when it really shines.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into what else, an official Orval chalice glass.. and that my friends.. makes a difference. Bottle is one year from date bottled upon tasting.

Let's talk about how this beer looks in this glass. It is flat out exceptional, just amazing. Not sure the "perfect" way to pour it in, but if you create a simple two finger head it works. Let's start from the top. This head is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Rock solid cap.. nowhere to go, swirl the glass and this thing dances. It's like a giant hockey puck on your glass, yellow off white. There is even some lacing stick on this very tapered glass. The color of this beer through this glass is litteraly multi-colored. From top these honey hues, at top taper it is brown going down to caramel and then gold towards the bottom.. It's almost completely opaque but not quite, you can just.. JUST barely see through it. This glass shows off this beer unlike anything I have ever seen, it looks like a million bucks. Throw some more brown dots of yeast from the bottle on the top of it later too!

Bouquet... WOW. This is unreal, at first a sweet confusing spice, strangely creamy and dry, almost like bananas. In reality it's like sweet-tarts and bottle cap cola candy, this incredible powdery sweetness. On top of that, through in some classic barnyard mustyness. FUNKY!!

Taste is challenging. This is almost like a saison but at least a tolerable one. Quick quinine tonic water tingles and bitterness. Extremely herbal, big pungency bitterness, after a few more tastes the sweetness of candy comes out more often but not totally. Almost but not totally metallic sharp palate slicing feel. Very impressive.

Drinkability for me this is a blast, but I can see others having a lot of trouble with this beer and getting past it. Also this beer is not exactly inexpensive either which is too bad cause it is flat out fantastic.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great and classy beer. 2010 bottling dates @ 6.9% abv.

A: medium amber ale with a thick head of fine bubbled tan foam that gently laced the glass as it receded

S: crisp, fresh, bright, and clean yeast and hop aromas

T: there is a nice woodsy flavor to this beer; dry hops and spring barley malts produce a very dry, elegant beer, with aromatic flavors and the inclusion of brettanomyces yeast infuses a very subtle huskiness to the taste

M: bitter and dry; smoothly coating, clean finish - extremely drinkable and pleasing

O: from one of the 8 trappist breweries in the world, the only beer they brew - when you try it, you will appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making this one of the very best pale Belgian ales.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval, an all-time classic. It's been a fav of mine for quite a while, but in the constant search for new flavors I've overlooked it a bit recently. I just put a few of these in the cellar to try once a year to see how the brett develops, so I surely need to try one fresh (bottled 04/22/10).

As remembered, an absurd pour. Beautiful caramel color with a nice clarity. Poured carefully into a large wine glass, the head towers above the lip of the glass into a mountainy cone. Excellent retention and lace. Pretty much hits on all marks for appearance. Aroma is balanced, complex and simple all at once. Lightly grassy and hoppy up front with a nice bread and honey maltyness and light peppery notes, all wrapped up in a bit of funk. Taste again is simple, but deep. Nice base of pale malt and a slight sweetness, akin to a good tripel, topped by a grassy hop profile and a nice dry, dusty, peppery finish. The thing that takes this beer to the next level is the mild dose of brett, that slightest funky bite that sneaks up providing an array of oddball flavors. Pretty spectacular. Nice melding of a soft trappist feel and also a hoppy, funky, quirky ale with a prickly texture. A real treat to drink, anytime. I can't wait to see what happens to this beer in a year, or two, or three...

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Photo of Luk13
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Dark gold pour with very abundant pillowy head. Aroma is strangely tart and funky, red fruits (cherries), some herbal hay-like and brett aromas, lemon rind and so on.. Taste is rather grassy, herbal with some good bitterness with a yeasty and citrus background. Lively carbonation, full bodied and dry finish gives a distinctive mouthfeel. I didnt like it so much at first but now I'm totally addicted. If there was one beer I'd drink on a daily basis, that would be it.

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Photo of rootbeerman
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on date of 9/8/09 poured into duvel tulip

A: pours hazy gold with a bit of orange. the head is a huge four fingers of off white foam which is lacing as it falls and with every sip.
S: has a citrus fruit, a little bit of cherries, a nice yeast funk
T: dry, earthy malt along with some orange, lemon and again a little bit of light cherry, a nice hop bitterness to push along the dryness.
M: the dryness and carbonation make for an almost champagne like feeling.
D: very is about all i can say

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazed golden copper with a volcanous off-white head in the authentic Orval chalice. Bought this case almost a year ago and down to a few bottles dated best before 8/10/06. Strange... the ABV on the bottle says 6.9%. Head stays around forever, leaving tatted lace all over the chalice. Intricate aromas, black pepper, hops, lemon zest, some barnyard and sweaty farmyard, but oh so beautiful. The taste is as equally complex. Never sweet, the whole experience is just a dry assault on the palate. Some grapefruit or other sweet/sour citrus, some barnyardy saisonishness, another part yeasty. Mouthfeel's spritzy and well-carbonated for a beer of such ABV. Wholly enjoyable (I guess the reason I'd fork over $90 for a case of it a year ago). If you're looking for a complex, drinkable -and exotic- beer, look no further. I love turning pseudo beer connoissuers on to this beer. "Oh! You've never tried an Orval?"

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Photo of Big78CJ
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006: Cellared 1.5 years

This is the picture perfect Orval. Beautiful orangey blonde beer with saison-like carbonation and a royal looking head of slightly off-white foam.

The smell is amazing on this glass. Light fruity notes and a touch of candy sweetness. Very mild hop character peaking through the fruit.

All of the fruit from the nose is there in flavor but in spirit only. I can't identify a specific flavor but they all are muted as the hop character of the orval and slight yeasty taste (it was decanted perfectly so this was not the result of a bad pour or agitated bottle). I taste bits of fresh cut grass and hay, almost as if this was a trappist saison.

The mouthfeel is light, bright, and refreshing.

This is the perfect summer trappist!

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've never been a fan of any belgain beer all too much, but lately I've been digging them quite a bit. Yes, I would rather have a porter or an imperial stout, but these damned belgains are eating away at me. Don't get me wrong, I still think Chimay and Ommegang are gross, but I can't let them ruin it for the rest of them.

Orval Trappist Ale is a spectacular testament to Belgain trappist brewing. Brewed to the highest standards, it holds true to its rock solid reputation as one of the finest ales in the world.

Poured from a blue tear-drop bottle, it radiated with a beautiful orange amber colour with a hazy, unfiltered clarity. The head, thick and mountainous, released a wonderful aroma of fruits and grains. Enough to bring one back to moms kitchen.

After all the "work" examining the nectar, I had to taste it.

Apple cider, bananas, coreander, a touch of lemon. Fruity and tart with only the most mild bit of bitterness. A fantastic complexity with the most incredible simplicity rolled into one. Smooth and pleasing to the palate.

This is a wonderful beer in so many ways that one cannot put it all into words. This is the beer to convert any "wine snob" to the ways of the heathen. Orval is a beer that is enjoyed in the company of a casual chess game or a formal party. One which should be respected, is respected, and always will be respected.

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Photo of obrendano
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - neat little bowling pin like bottle. beer pours a massive, massive head that I had to wait on a couple times to subside a little before I could keep pouring. beer is a hazy grayish gold with lots of bubbles making their way up

S - spicy dried fruit, excellent hop aroma, quite different than I expected

T - thick musty malt highlighted by a lemon-lime bite, hops are tart and noticeable, spicy cherry finish is warm and comforting. this is excellent

M - I really like how this feels, slightly heavy and sticky, and given less restraint I could down this like water

D - a pretty standout beer that doesn't follow the other routes of Trappists. I'd love to shake the hands of the monks that made it

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Photo of spointon
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from an 11.2oz bowling pin shaped brown bottle into a tulip pint glass. There was a bottling date listed of 1/30/2007.

A= This ale poured a rich dark orange color with just the slightest chill haze. The head was easily 3" of snow white, rocky magnificence that very slowly dropped to a 1/4" dense cap. Lots of sudsy, sticky lace down my glass.

S= I found aromas of malt sweetness, fruity esters, Belgian yeast, honey, and some mild lemon.

T= This is a subtle Belgian ale for sure. Initial flavors of light malt sweetness blend well with lemon grass, tart apples, and barnyarn yeastiness. There is a distinct flash of hops and then more light tartness kicks in and lasts through the drying finish.

MF= Medium bodied up front with a thinning finish that leaves you feeling like it was lighter than it really was. Nice effervescent carbonation cleansed my palate yet never became too sharp.

D= This ale somehow pulls off the neat trick of being very mild and subtle, yet deeply complex. So long as you can find it in relatively good condition, this is definitely a world class beer.

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Photo of bump8628
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At 9 months in the bottle Orval pours amber into a chalice with a voluminous airy head that clumps in patches on the edges of the glass. It opens with grainy malt, sweet and perfumy hops, citrus, and sea air. Further on, spicy pepper, tartness, hard mineral water, freshly cut hay, and notes of leather emerge. Hops and the mineral character leave a trace of bitterness at the end. On the palate Orval is extraordinarily dry, yet the ample carbonation gives a full sensation. A timeless beer that's unlike any other.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval, the trappist you either love or don’t like at all….
Look: pours a orange amber color with a large, long lasting white head.
Smell: Sweet malts, fruits (lemon), flowers, earth, grass and crisp hops. Some hints of sour apples as well.
Taste: Beautiful sourness, horse blanket, crisp, earth and grass/hay all over the place. Clove and lemon up front as well. Tartness all over with a very dry finish. Perfect balance.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, medium body.
Overall: Because of the wild fermentation process, I always call this beer the geuze beer under the trappist beers. This beer is so unique, so perfectly balanced, on of the best trappist beers out there. I love it! For most regular trappist beer drinkers out of their style, which maybe explains the IMO the low average score this beers has.

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour this super slow, its gonna grow on you. Poured a gloriously hazy golden amber with a huge super frothy-foamy off white head. Lots of carbonation rising to the top. Creamy and very complete coating in terms of lacing. Head looks like a root beer float head floating around on a melting cream base.

Aroma is spectacular. Full of pepperiness, clove, fruit(orange lemon) and honey! The light sour twang of brett yeast is always welcome.

More of the same awesomeness as described above. Super yeasty, musty and lightly sour. Peppery and only slightly drying. Citric.

Feel is creamy and slick but tingly from the carbonation. I would gladly drink more than one of these bowling pin shaped brews but i would almost feel guilty. So damn good.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been meaning to review this one properly.
Hazy golden pour (light copper tinges) in my Westy glass, one - two fingers bubbly head. The thin lacing later on is extremely sticky, leaving blankets of foam on the side of the glass, popping away to random smaller traces.
The smell is really unique, as i remember it, with sweet apricots, acidic apples and pears, strawberries, low citrus, honey, lots of flowers and a nice green saison-like funk. You could just smell this for hours.
Really complex taste. It doesn't start off with the fruitiness as expected, but with the barnyard funk and the herbs, the candi sugar (just mildly sweet, mind you) and prickly peppercorn. Fruitiness follows, crisp and acidic, with clear green apple (with a tiny bit of tartness) and yellow pears, mixed up with some grains. The green funk never leaves the palate, all till the (rather) bitter finish.
A bit too much carbonation, especially considering the crispness of the beer. Refreshing, yes. Alcohol is very subtle, aftertaste consists of, you guessed it, funk.
No wonder i rated this 5 at first, it's absolutely amazing. Minus the bit of extra carbonation, but still up to its renown.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,282 ratings.
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