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

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2,301 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: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,266
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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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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Photo of rtepiak
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

amber IPA color with quite a bit of murk that has a chestnut quality. medium head, very lightly off white light brown phlegm yellow. lace. smell is flemish funk??? strangely. pineapple musky wonderfulness. taste is every pale ale i've ever had. some butteriness, soft citrus fruit, pineapple, lemon grassy with a light dough in the murk. truly a beer that respects beer.

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

Pours a cloudy amber/brown with a thick, pillowy, white head which remained at about half a finger.

The smell is of candied apples, caramel malt, a lot of pecan pie. Some slight dark fruits like figs, or dates.

Taste begins with a sweet, buttery caramel malt. Crispy pie crust comes to mind. Hops are decently spicy and add a lot to the bitter finish which is extremely dry. Complex to say the least and alcohol is well hidden.

Creamy, medium bodied with a sharp, biting carbonation.

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

Bottled 21 Jan 2006

Appearance: Hazy orange-brown with a big off white head that hangs around.

Smell: Sweetish bread, citrus, touch of bubblegum, alcohol.

Taste: Straightforward, yet complex. The yeast and hop flavors evolve with each sip. Spicy, citrus flavors finish with an acidic quality. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light. This made this brew go down extremely smoothly. I want to try a fresher bottle to see if aging has made a difference in this area.

Drinkability: This brew provides a challenging spectrum of flavors to the drinker. It was enjoyable to attempt to sense everything this beer has to offer.

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Photo of kilo_005
4.66/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into standard Orval glass.

A) tan in color. Light head.
S) this beer has a wonderful aroma of sour fruit, like a tart cherry. This is the best aspect of the beer.
T) mild sour/funk upfront dissapating to a pleasant lingering bitterness. This is what makes Orval unique among traditional Belgians.
M) Strong carbonation feeling that is heightened by the upfront sourness.
O) obviously a legendary Belgian beer. Unless you dislike the bitterness for some reason, you will most likely enjoy this.

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Photo of itsscience
4.66/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval is a beer that, more than any other I know, varies from bottle to bottle. Despite this, it remains a favorite and has never let me down. This review covers a beer bottled on 7 Feb 2013 and consumed more than a year later in Apr 2014.

Forceful carbonation almost popped the cap off when I went to open it. It pours murky orange with a huge four-finger head of white foam and there's still carbonation streaming up the glass. The nose is bready, tangy, and full of brett yeast, bringing barnyard funk and a woodsy characteristic. It smells unlike any other Trappist ale I know of, coming across like a high-quality sour. In past tastings I got a lot of spice from the yeast, but I get none of that here. There's a slight sourness and a seriously oaky, earthy quality with more of that barnyard flavor. It finishes dry and vinous, like a white wine. The body on it is pretty light.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bowling pin shaped bottle > Chimay Goblet update on 12/4/10 bottled 12/30/09. Updated 10/14/16 with a bottle from 4/6/15.

This is a burnt-orange amber color with gyser-like carbonation from the middle of the glass which creates this massive four inch high fluffy, lively, cream colored head that only dissipates about three inches in all, leaving at least a full inch of foam covering and a bit of sticky lace.

A Sweet, spicey, wild and herbal yeast greets the nose in a big way. sour banana's fruity tangy yeast scent that blends pretty well together with a honey sweet malt. . Lemmons and corriander with spicey apples. The aroma is overwhelming and pleasant very pleasant. wild yeast all over, tangy and a brett style sharpness to boot.

A semi-sweet pale malt flavor with wild, brett-like yeast sharpness, not metallic but very wild! all hit the palate hard at first. Sweet tarts, orange peels, lemmon and an overall tangy fruitiness adds depth and further balance. The balance is divine with each flavor riding a strong wave to make maximum impact. The finish is of bitter herbals and spices. Dry and airy wheat and spring water in the end, fresh and strong flavor's...mostly the complex, weird and wild yeast strain!

The feel is classic, crisp ultraclean but creamy, refreshing and smooth...very light overall. Champagne-like lightness but much smoother going down. finishes dry but refreshing. amazing feel.

A true, Belgian Abby classic.

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Photo of Brandt
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage (10/03/04)
as part of a vertical 09,08,07,04

this beer poured into a chimay goblet a nice copper orange color with some white head that falls fast and leaves little while drinking

the smell of this aged orval gives off subtle malt character and a moderate brett/sour funk. there are hints of some dark fruit including black cherries and plum. there is also a sourish woody character here with a strong brett presence.

the taste of this beer was far different from that of a new one. there was a moderate sourness to it with a strong dry brett bite. there are also notes of port and cherry with touches of an oak like tannic quality and subtle notes of plum, a very sweet while still being sour beer.

this beer finished out with a medium body and lingering aromatics of the dark fruit and a silky coating on the tongue.

aging this beer turns it into a whole different beast. the turn this beer takes as it apporaches the five years out mark is remarkable if you like the flemish ale characteristics. this beer can go from a relativley bright and spritzy hoppy ale to a much richer beverage with deep complexity, both of which are delightful! i will be keeping a stock around to always have an old one on hand after this tasting!!

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Photo of eat
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 29/04/2009, so it's a few days over a year old now. The bottle says you can age this one all the way until 2014. Being able to age a beer of 6.9% for five years is pretty impressive.

Poured into my Chimay goblet, which looked to be the closest thing I had to the proper Orval glass. Orval pours with a copious, densely-foamy orange-tinged white head. Lacing could be better. The retention is amazing, with a raft of head hanging out like it's a pancake. The beer is opaque with suspended sediment and dull-copper in colour. Some mysterious black specs rest at the bottom of the glass.

Huge, delicious smell. Candied lemon, wheat, yeast, tart green apple, cherries, white wine, white pepper, light brett and a subtle spice blend. This beer smells fantastic! Super complex and seriously exceptional. Easily one of the best smelling beers I've had.

This beer is really complex. A solid amount of brett character, ginger ale, white wine vinegar, dust, sweet malt, green apple. Hops seem to get mostly buried in the flavour but come into play on the finish, where they impart an almost perfect balance. I feel like I might enjoy a little more of a malt base, if I was going to be picky. No alcohol present.

The feel is insanely good. This might be the best mouthfeel I've ever encountered; it's almost like a milkshake it's so thick and creamy. The foamy carbonation really works here. The finish is fairly drying; the kind that keeps you sipping.

I'm definitely stocking up on these next time I'm in Montreal. I could drink this stuff all the time. I really like how this is a little lighter than most other world-class Belgians; at 6.9% you could have a few at a time. It seems to pack the flavour of a much bigger beer into it's relatively low ABV. I'm glad I spent some time working up to this one, I feel like I can appreciate this beer now whereas a year-or-so ago I'm not sure I would have "got" it. Possibly an acquired taste but this beer is amazing.

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Photo of berkey
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 02/02/2008. Curious to see how this compares to a much fresher bottle I had over the weekend.

Pours a bright but somewhat hazy orange amber color with a huge slightly off white head and just the right amount of carbonation. Head fades to a thin lingering crown and the carb slowly but very loudly subsides as the tiny bubbles created by bottle conditioning start popping off.

Aroma brings to mind fresh sourdough bread, dry brett, citrus peel, and wet grass, with some bitter hops in the background.

The famous brettanomyces yeast creates a remarkably dry flavor. More lemon and orange peel flavors here along with a strong underlying tartness. Hops have died a bit with age but the increased brett keeps it interesting. While the carb has died quite a bit from when first poured there's still enough left for a mouthfeel that teams up with the dry flavors for a very pleasant drinkable ale. Wish it came in six packs.

Overall a matchless brew. Happy to finally get around to reviewing one of my favorite ales. This one isn't for everyone I notice but definitely worth a taste. If you like the dry and mellow tart flavors as much as I do this could end up as one of your favorites.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is for Joe Lipa and Craig Hartinger, my two main men at Merchant du Vin. Cheers and thanks for everything (except this beer - that I bought in DC)! I had gotten Joe to send me an apron which I wore pretty religiously (no pun intended for once) until I met the brother who oversees the brewing operation while he was in BOS for a BA BBF and he signed the apron for me using a Sharpie. The apron is now retired, but the memory lives on.

Orval translates from the French to Valley of Gold and the abbey was the gift of a princess who dropped her gold engagement (?)/wedding (?) ring into a nearby river. She prayed fervently for its return and when a fish surfaced with her ring in its mouth (look closely at their logo), she decided to pay homage by building an abbey for the local monks.

This is a beer that must be decanted super slowly not just to avoid stirring up the lees in the bottom of the bottle, but also because it has an inherent tendency to foam. Sure enough, over half of the glass was initially filled with dense, rocky eggshell-white foam. That was okay by me because it also allowed the funk of the strain of brettanomyces yeast that they use to fill the room. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity thanks to my oh-so-gentle pour. Nose had the Brett funk going, but not in an obtrusive way. I have long characterized Orval as Brett for Beginners, a way to introduce the heretofore uninitiated to the wonders of Brett without causing them to turn away and never want to try any such beer again. I think of Jolly Pumpkin beers in the same way. Mouthfeel was quite full, perhaps due to the large CO2 bubbles inherent in the beer, and with a bitter, funky flavor that is unique to this beer. I cannot adequately describe it, but do know that when I say "bitter", I do not mean hoppy bitter, but more like a vegetable matter bitter. Finish was extremely dry, which is just the way I like my beers. I am not a sweet toothed person and bitter and dry suits me just fine. Do not pass up a chance to try this beer!

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Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into an oversized wine glass. Wowee zowee this has a damn fine head! It looks like I just made a root beer float! And it retains damn well too! Rocky and fluffy, almost cloud like...and the lacing is nice too. The head just doesn't completely go away! Amberish opaque color...Smell of light alcohol and apples and various spices and a mild hop aroma...somewhat reminiscent of a champagne? The taste is well balanced and subtle...I still can't put my finger on what exactly I should compare it to (apple/raspberry/boysenberry/pear?). The hops are nice and don't dominate but they stick with you to the bitter end (sorry for the pun). Anyways, this beer is light bodied with very subtle carbonation. Very nice, love it and would drink it again many a time!

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,266 ratings.
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