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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,325 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

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:
2,325
Ratings:
5,336
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
354
Gots:
896
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,325 | Ratings: 5,336
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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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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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 scottakelly
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 descobar
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

bottled 4/2012. the aroma is mostly catty (in a pleasant way), earthy, grassy with some dark fruit and spices. estery Belgian ale yeast. pours medium amber with a full-on head with large white bubbles. head has great retention. its def hazy. med body with slightly oily texture and more than moderate astringency. flavors of raisins and candy sugars. fruity esters and slight funkyness. significant bitterness that lasts long through in the aftertaste but smooths out over time. this is great Belgian ale drinking very close to its peak. label says it should cellar well into 2017. A CLASSIC!

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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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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,336 ratings.
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