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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,287 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:
2,287
Ratings:
5,235
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
832
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,287 | Ratings: 5,235
Photo of D-Rock
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Purchased in Japan and poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Look: Holy jeeze, a huge white foamy head gushes up when this beer is poured, taking up about half of my glass. The head keeps foaming up and looks very alive, dynamic course bubbles slowly walk up the sides of the glass, exquisite. The beer itself is a pale transparent deep amber gold-straw color with the barest hint of clouding. Healthy carbonation keeps bubbles streaming towards the top.

Smell: A very unique bouquet, dusty, barn-like, moldy and funky, incredibly complex. Spicy tones become more prominent with a peppery coriander and nutmeg hint. Zesty lemon is prominent as well. A lot going on here, I could spend all day picking out components in this beer.

Taste: A medium bitterness accompanies the taste throughout with a moldy-mildew presence. Sour and pungent. The malt character is there but plays second to the funk. The subtle malt body gives a nice underlying backbone and becomes sweet in the drawn out aftertaste. Complex, extremely complex.

Feel: Mouthfeel is light and smooth with a puckering feel from the sourness. Carbonation bubbles up in the mouth. A hint of astringency coats the tongue. Silky almost.

Overall: This beer is unique, novel, traditional, unexpected (for the uninitiated), and somehow it all just works. Everything melds together and works in harmony, from the barnyard funk to the moldy brie taste. A stupendous beer and delicious.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tasted at "Bistro des Bières Belges" on Montreal's south shore in a bottle labeled 6,9% rather than the 6.2% suggested here. While pouring the liquid, you come to understand what's with everyone talking about all the unique flowers in the aroma from this legendary trappist beer. Lilac is all over the place, your nose doesn't even have to be close to the nice graal-like glass. The numerous and regular bubbles escape relatively fast leaving just a perfect relatively small white head. The taste is very spicy with coriander, citrus and just so many I can't name. Bitterness steps in and dance in unity with those spices among the flowers. A nectar!

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a wine glass (I really need to get a chalice). Brewed-on date 15/3/07 best before 15/03/12.

Pours a golden yellow, slight haze with a great billowing head. Lacing all over the glass. Champaign-like bubbles.

Smell is definite lemon, lemon grass. Sweet with slight hops in the background.

Taste is dry and sweet, yet quenching. I really taste some lemon overtones with hop bitterness on the back of my tongue. Carbonation gives a very Champaign feel. Gets better and better as I drink it and as it warms up. Less carbonation midway through. The alcohol is not all too noticable but does have a warming effect midway through. Becomes less dry towards the end.

This is a great beer any time of year. I can't wait to drink this on a summer night out on the deck. I'd be curious to see what more aging will do to this beer... guess I gotta buy a few more.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been saving this as a celebration beer for finishing the Vermont 50. Better late than never.

Even a delicate pour produces a runaway white head. Settles into a chunky head like a marshmallow dissolving into a sea of Fluff. Beautiful amber color. Delicate lace nestled down my glass. This is a pin-up girl of beers.

Smells strongly of botanicals, like Herbal Essences shampoo. I think I can pick out juniper and maybe even dome fuzzy hops? Sweet apricot and peach fuzz offsets dry, champagne-like graininess.

Taste is more juniper led botanicals and dry ginger ale and dried apricoty fruit. High carbonation boosts body but could be toned down a bit. Dry finishes cleanses the palette after each sip.

Unique from bottle to finish, this is one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of TenHornsProud
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark orange with a huge, and I mean huge, white rocky head that lingers and laces. One of the best looking pours I've seen.

Smells of brett, apple, pear, sugar, bubble gum. Really great aroma, makes you want to take a sip.

Taste is up front hop and brett that fades into a fruity, sugar malt and hop character and ends with some yeast spice, hop bitterness, and fruit. Complex as all hell and refreshing.

Lighter to medium body with high carbonation work perfectly for the beer.

Hoppy (maybe a bit too astringent), fruity, spicy, sweet yet dry, just really interesting and complex. The brett is more subtle but present. What's not to love. Amazing beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is always wonderfully complex and hoppy, and it did not disappoint this time. This is a very unique beer brewed by some of those zany Belgian Trappist monks, and is loosely in the pale ale style; being pale, an ale and quite hoppy, including dry hopping. At this point it leaves the standard pale ale road, among possible others, it is made using Brettanomyces yeast which add a complexity of flavor which I typically say adds a musty note. At first thought this does not appear to be all that tasty (musty, horse blanket; I have some old leather shoes like that) but I feel that if done right over the correct amount of time it adds wonderful notes of complexity. This beer does it correctly, and I always love being able to sample this wonderful beer.

The beer pours a hazy copper-orange color, and is topped by a tan creamy head. As I pour this beer the Brett character is immediately noticeable; aromas of musty cellars, and leather. A sweet fruity aroma is here as well but the musty brett character dominates. The beer is well carbonated. It is lightly sweet up front, but only just as this is a dry beer. Has a certain sharp dryness in the finish that is coupled with a funky-woody-musty character. There is some residual hop character still here, though it is hard to separate it out.

This remains a challenging/ characterful brew on this side of the Atlantic. When fresh it is quite a bit different; still good but in a fresh hoppy sort of way. I love that the Belgians still embrace ornery "spoilage" organisms in their brews, it makes for a much more colorful world.

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Photo of tpd975
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice cloudy murky orange hue with a nice tall rocky head. Great retention and chunky lace left behind.

S: Nice floral aroma with hints of citrus. Some acidic crushed sweet tarts and a bit of apple. Unique aroma.

T: Yum! Nice bold sparkling citrus flavor which yields to crushed cherry sweet tarts. Hints of bitter hops and some sweet apple and pear. Nice balance between malt and hops, bitter and sweet. Great Beer.

M: Light in body very sparkling. This one dances on the tongue.

D: Very, this one can be pounded or sipped, its one of my favorites.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a clear orange with fluffy white head. Looks great. Some lacing.

S - fruity apricot with some light pepper. Very pleasing nose.

T - Fruit right off the start, but it is quickly washed away. Mmm... yummy funkiness creeps in. Earthy goodness through to the end, and the hop bitterness compliments it all the more. I'm having trouble describing these flavours, but the finish and aftertaste are just wonderful.

M - Generous carbonation creates a light fullness.

D - Refreshing as can be for a sturdy beer, this is my kinda drink.

I only tried an Orval once before at a beer bar. I enjoyed it immensely at the time, but it's even better now where I can concentrate and fully appreciate everything it has to offer. One of my all time favourites.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- A deep cloudy golden amber brew that almost looks like marmalade. Huge, billowing head that settles very slowly and laces the glass like grafitti on a railroad car.

S -- Very complex aroma, ranging from peaches and pears to sour cherries and lightly of acid and some medicinal qualities. Perhaps a hint of dried dark fruit...

T -- Holy wow. Big and fruity, following the yeast and the nose on the front, followed quickly by a sharp bitterness that cuts immediately through the sweetness with an herbaceous note that resembles rosemary and saffron.

M -- Light on the palate, well carbonated even after two years from bottling, fairly drying and cleansing at the same time.

D -- Anyone who fancies themselves a beer drinker should indulge in at least one of these in their lives and several if possible. Just amazing.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle served in a chalice.

A: Beautiful bottle and art. Pours a hazy amber to chestnut color, firming a huge yellow to beige head that dissipates slowly leaving many lacings around. A small layer persists and some particles can be seen floating around

S: Sweet, malty and "biscuity". Fruity (reminded me pears and apples). Acid (orange zest). Fresh and grassy hops and the traditional Belgium yeasts the end

T: Distinct and complex as the nose. Sweet caramel upfront but very dry, in overall, bit acid and quite bitter end. Caramel malts. White grapes, apples, notes of wood, nuts, yeasts and finally the hops

M: Medium body and high carbonation. Dry and bitter aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. A classic and, at the same time, distinct Belgium Trappist. Mandatory to any beer lover.

Second review 2010.11.20 (improving A and D from 4.5 to 5)

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Photo of mwagner1018
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a traveled .33L bottle into an Orval glass. Purchased this beer in Belgium, survived the arduous journey back to the states, settled for about 2 months at about 55deg F....then was thourougly enjoyed!

Orval poured out a beautiful mid October fall color of Orange, dusted yellow, and amber. Settled with a nice head, good aroma, great carbonation release up from the center bottom of the glass. This beer had a very fruit induced, orange and spicy aroma.
I liked the subdued but noticable taste of strong German hops. I would rate this as a good drinkable beer, but would like a bit more substance in the mouthfeel....The taste of this beer definitely shines above 50deg. Overall, I rank it second among the ales of the Trappiste Bieres!

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Photo of Hibernator
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Bottled on: 06/24/2005
Best Before: 06/24/2010
Served in a Chimay goblet glass

Pours a hazy and cloudy light brown. Burnt orange highlights blend in the background. A massive, rocky head forms on top and magnificent patterns of sticky lacings cling all over the goblet.

The nose is amazing. Whiffs of lemon, honey, hops and sour funk yeast. Reminds me of a Lambic, must be the Brettanomyces. I inhale another big whiff and I detect sugary sweetness and random spices. I swirl the beer around and around in the goblet and I receive more complex scents.

My first sip is light, airy and sugary sweet. Complex flavors of sweet & sour battle on my palate. Again, the Lambic connection is on the forefront of my mind. A touch of lemon or lime citrus dipped in honey with a quality that provides a beautiful hop snap on the finish. This beer is also interestingly dry while a pressured carbonation blast prickles my tongue.

This is one amazing, unique and uncompromising monster of a trappist ale. A world class offering and strongly recommended.

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Photo of ryantupy
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a copper orange head with a huge rocky head that clung to the glass all the way down. It smelled very tart with malty sweetness present, ripe fruit, spices, and slight hint of lemon. It tasted smooth and crisp, well balanced with a nice hoppiness to it, the hops gave it a slight bite which was nice. It had a nice crisp dry finish that made it very drinkable and enjoyable. This was a very good tasting complex ale that I would reccomend to anybody really.

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Photo of skypup
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased and consumed at a roadside fry shop near Dinant, Belgium.
.33L Bottle served in an Orval Chalice

A: Cloudy amber with a thick and pillowish head.

S: Malty, touch of floral hints

T: Complex bitterness with obvious yeast and some pear and cherry after tones.

M: medium carbonation; full bodied beer.

D: This was certainly my favorite trappist beer; these monks know how to brew beer. Enjoyed with a cone of Belgian fries, this is heaven.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Complex stuff. Pours a reddish gold color, With a fat white head. A nice combination of wild yeast, malty body with a hop kick. Nice spiciness mixes with the yeastiness, and hopiness. An excellent beer. Belgian beers exist at a different plane than most beers I am used to, And this one is a personal favorite.

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Photo of dacull
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first review on here, and as luck would have it I picked a very good beer to start off with.

Poured from bottle into a large wine glass. Honey-like orange color with a thick and persistent white head that left lots of dense lacing all the way up the glass..

Smell is sweet with some fruity notes of citrus and peach and hints of spice.

Taste is sweet, fruity peach up front quickly followed by pronounced flavors of spices, corriander and nutmeg. Slight pine or juniper hint in the aftertaste, along with a persistent corriander-like spice. Several waves of complex flavors over the course of a sip.

Mouthfeel is good, perhapse a bit too much carbonation for my taste, but certainly not unreasonable or out of range for the style.

Very drinkable, I could definitely enjoy one or two more of these in a sitting. Overall an exceptionally well crafted beer and possibly my favorite Belgian pale ale to date. I'll definitely be drinking it again.

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Photo of TheBlueWaffle
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After dealing with the insane carbonation, I'm talking 30 minutes till the foam died down, this beer was ready. Worth the wait for sure. Intense banana yeast notes. Very drinkable!

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Photo of Longstaff
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thick, foamy head falls only in the middle and sticks to the sides of the glass. Deep golden color with reddish highlights. Slight alcoholic aroma. Hints of leather and sulfur in the palate. Dry finish with hop flavors and bitterness lasting on the tounge. Great apertif.

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Photo of jeremy13586
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After getting an Orval glass from my girlfriend as a birthday gift, I felt that it was fitting that I review the beer as well.

The appearance is amazing. A translucent light-brown/dark-orange fills the glass. The head left in the goblet is nothing short of inviting. A lovely off-white foam towered above the rim without spilling over, creating an almost cavernous formation. A sweet, yet, citrusy and floral aroma is in the nose. A nice spicy, almost nutmeg, note is in there as well. The taste is appley and fresh. There is no other way to describe it.

I am now half way through the beer and trying to warm it with my hands, hoping to reveal something more in the amazing taste and aroma. A fine layer of bubbles lies atop of the brew, with the last two mountains of foam shrinking in to oblivion. With each sip, one takes in a more spicy and flavorful taste than the last. Each swallow finishes crisp and clean, as if you were biting in to a Granny Smith apple.

This beer is not only a beer, but an experience.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Awe inspiring off white head with great retention and structure, very foamy at first slowly converting to larger and larger bubbles until a good head is left with heavy lacing on the glass. Liquid is an orange-brown with a very slight haze. Carbonation is medium comprised of small bubbles.

S = Spicy notes of cinnamon and coriander, juniper, lemon zest. Very complex and very enjoyable.

T = Light citrus flavors at the front of the tongue, mostly lemon with maybe some hint of tangerine, then a spicier note of cinnamon and seven grain bread all with a very light yeast underlay, finishing long and deep with a bitter juniper berry taste. Only complaint is that the taste is just a little too watery, but still excellent.

M = Medium bodied, carbonation gets just a little too frothy in mouth, but that dies down as the beer rests longer, decent coating of the mouth.

D = A very good drinking beer, very complex, very enjoyable, not too heavy, not too light.

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Photo of DandyEssex
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

From 330mL bottle into an Orval glass.

Great cloudy head that basically never goes away... sometimes it seems likes it is actually growing. Hazy, rust colour.

This needs to warm up to serving temperature for it's flavours and aromatics to really open up, but it has such a funky, dirty profile. The nose, once it warms up is huge & complex. Floral hops, citrus, clove and a slight bit boozy. It tastes like it was made in a barn in some back country. It has some similarities to a hot toddy maybe. It is a tiny bit over-carbonated for my liking, but this helps to ensure a very long, bitter & fruity finish.

This is known to be a world class beer, and it never disappoints, even with persistent bottle variations.

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Photo of Antilochus
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been working on covering all the Trappist bases - thus far I've tried all but Westy, Achel, and Koenigshoeven. I haven't reviewed all of them yet though, and this is bringing me one step closer to that goal. Thanks to the LCBO for bringing this one back in Spring Release '08.

6.90% abv, 330mL bottle. Bottled on 09/25/2007, so about five and half months old. Poured into a white wine glass first then my Chimay chalice. This was at cellar temp then got a while in the fridge.

Monster head on this one when I poured it! Big and foamy, amber-y off white, very natural looking. Almost clear effervescent amber body. Not much lace.

Nose has lots of oranginess, tangerine, rind, some lighter floral hop character. Super complex. Spice, of course. Bit of booziness too, tied in with pale malt. Earthy, farmy, got some dirt and hay at the forefront. Cane sugar, vanilla. Caramel, some sour cherriness. A little acetic quality to it - tied to green apple? Very winey, but in a good way. Some subtle mineral aromas, like hard water. The pour in the chalice got more yeasty, but not excessively so.

Feel is very light with substantial spritzy carbonation. I'm already getting some crazy palate stuff here just holding it in my mouth and breathing. Now I remember you, Orval. Gets sharp in the mouth right away. Lollipops, pungent pale malt, apple vinegar again(?), dirt, refined sugar, blue cheese, finish is dry and vegetal, super long, with a big snap of bitterness - sort of resinous but less clean. Cidery, with some yeast to muddle it up. Sahara dry with some physical mouth drying too, winey again. A hint of metal. Citrus fades away compared to the nose. Very earthy, the finish seems gone but little flavours will pop back up on your palate. Just got some sour mix, lime candy. Highly drinkable.

This is something else. One of a kind brew, bravo.

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Photo of Nesued
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Orange hazy color. A big white head forms upon pour. Fine carbonation feeds this head that resolves to a one-finger presence that remains throughout consumption.

Smell - What a pleasure. Flowery, lemon aroma. Some have said juniper, after having to pause and think about the aroma of juniper, I'll have to agree yes! Very light-hearted aroma with a bright clean presence.

Taste - First word from my mouth: crisp. The carbonation makes it's appearance during the "hold" on the palate. I did notice a light smokey body form towards the end of the sip. Nice crisp and clean finish with a bit of a bite ending.

Mouthfeel - Very mouth-filling. The carbonation transports the bulk of the body around the mouth to make for a very full feel. After the swallow, you are left with a clean slate waiting for more.

Drinkability - This was plain and simple a joy to drink. An outstanding depth and crisp finish may this a wonderful "no nonsense" offering. As the last of the trappists for me to try, this indeed holds a place in the pantheon on great beers. One of my top 20 all time.

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Photo of JordanEllwanger
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a sniffer, really should have used a goblet. Thick fast rising head. I could only pour half of the bottle at a time. Dark rich opaque amber hues. A strong and full coffee cream caramel colored head.

Smells fruity and malty roasts with deep spices that remind me of Christmas dinners.

Taste is so smooth and enjoyable. Differing slightly than the smell, it is a bit more mellow yet still bursting with flavors. As it gets warmer the other tastes come out of hiding.

Feels on the lighter side of medium. Like It rolls up the back of my throat instead of down.

Extremely drinkable. One of my all time favorite Belgians.

Cheers,
Jordan.

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Photo of BorntoLate86
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in Gulden Draak fluted glass.

A - Very large, extremely foamy head. Orange/amber faintly yellow color, light carbonation. Nice lacing left the entire way through the beer. Slightly hazy appearance.

S - Somewhat catty, yeasty smelling. Light fruit notes accompanied by traditional belgian spice scent. Aroma enchanced greatly in fluted glass, goblet allowed for too many volatiles to be released.

T - Acidic, tart and fruity. Unique flavor with a dry finish. Alkaline up front, soft sourness in the middle with a smooth belgian-corriander finish.

M - Puckering, smooth and light, coats tongue quickly but flavor lingers.

D - Excellent drinkability, if it weren't for the price it would make an exceptionl session beer. Light, flavorful, well-balanced.

Orval is one of my favorite beers. Unique, one-off flavor that is unmatched. A true trappist that blows the top off of the traditional Belgian style. Worth the Money.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,235 ratings.
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