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

5,378 Ratings
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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Ratings: 5,378 |  Reviews: 2,343
Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A unique Trappist with a clear orange and amber color, small white head with nice lacing. Aroma of coriander, orange peel, black pepper and faint vanilla. Tastes of citrus, orange and coriander. Medium mouth. Good bitter finish. Mellows slightly with age if kept well. Very nice.

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Photo of rhollman
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy golden brown

Smell - Fragrant aroma

Taste - Crisp, citrus, hop bitterness, nice dry finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth and dry

Drinkability - Complex yes but no big burst of flavor. Perfect for the person who enjoys a citrus oriented beer

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Photo of Fetus
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I pulled the bottle out of my fridge, and perhaps didn't give it long enough to warm up. I cracked the bottle open still cold, and began to pour into my squeaky clean Duvel tulip. I received a good solid pour of almost entirely head. This beer has lips like a porn star. Amazing head.

A - Letting it sit for a good 3-5 minutes and the head had finally calmed down enough to finish my pour. It leaves an amazing lace inside the glass. Very attractive beer. Nice golden/amber color, steady steam of bubbles supporting the ridiculous foamy mass on top.

S - Lots of spice, and apples. Hint of cherry in there somewhere? Slightly earthy, with some dried fruits in the back there behind the mountain of apples. Definitely a bit of sweetness in the nose.

T - grassy, apples, pepper, hint of hoppiness. Very dry. Bit of alcohol warmth. Yeast is in there as well. I don't normally enjoy beers this dry, but it's not bad at all.

M - Crispy, good carbonation, medium body, very dry.

D - For 6.9, I could see this being fairly drinkable if I was more into how dry the beer is. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.

Overall, not too bad. Again, it's dryer than I prefer but loses no points. Not a bad beer by any means. The smell alone is amazing.

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Photo of wknight167
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apearance - A very gentle pour reveals a hazy golden orange beer with an amazing 3 finger head.

Nose- Fruity and spicy, almost dirty. Apple, lemon and peach stand out. Spiciness from yeast.

Palate- Tastes much like it smells, almost cidery, plus white grape flavors. Hops accentuate a refreshing dryness.

Mouthfeel- Highly carbonated, just shy of medium bodied.

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Photo of jera1350
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy deep golden brownish orange color with massive pale tan head of sudsyness. Lots of active carbonation moving about. Nice amount of lace on the glass. Halfway through the beer and there is still a tight, one-finger head hanging around.

Sweet, fruity and spicy smelling. Some yeast and a hard to describe except spiced up hop scent. Similar to a fruit scented soap or perfume.

Complex and boozy fruit. Apple cider, citrus zest, champagne, green tea and moderate hoppiness, but lacking in much sweetness. Very unique.

About medium bodied. Some harshness in the carbonation that gets better as it warms up. Nice and smooth on the palate with an extremely dry finish.

Nice drinkability. Probably the best BPA I've had, but not a beer I will rush out to have again.

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Photo of BeerSingh
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A : Bang caramel - orange in colour with a soft, fluffy head. Incredible retention and lacing. This is an awesome intro to an awesome beer.

S : A little hop and malt with a big fruity smell - something like a sapodilla, very raisiny

T : Okay, the tilt is on the bitter side. But complementing are ripe fruit flavours and a slight citrusy twang. But, in the end, the bitterness is embodying every other flavour within it

M : Very dry feel, moderate carbonation.

D : I would prefer to have this as an aperitif and a digestif - so basically I can keep at it

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Photo of Ek0nomik
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured In: Tulip Glass
Purchased At: Cannery Wine & Spirits (Sun Prairie, WI)

Appearance: Good golly miss Molly. I poured this conservatively, and I'm sitting at 3 inches of head and a half inch of liquid. Poured a cloudy light copper and orange color with quite a bit of frothy head. A generous amount of lacing is on the side of my tulip. Quite the effervescent beer, a thick stream of bubbles are rising to the top of my glass producing more head. It's slowly dieing down... time to indulge.

Smell: The nose reveals dried lemon, white grapes and to my surprise, I can pick out the perfume smelling hops. I didn't think I'd notice that in this, but it's definitely there. Oh, and yeah, there it is, some barnyard funk. Not a lot, but after giving the glass a few swirls it's starting to leak out.

Taste: First up is some pale malt, not surprising. Bitter on the tongue, I suppose from the higher than expected hops that were added to this beer. Hops are never a bad thing. The hops aren't bringing out any citrus notes though, at least I don't think so. No, the tasting seems to be more powered by the yeast. Some more grape, a dash of lemon, and a little bit of leather.

Mouthfeel: I wasn't expecting hop oils to be running along my teeth, but there they are. It's quite pleasant. A medium bodied beer, highly carbonated, but it goes down easy.

Drinkability: Not a high ABV, easy to drink, and a nice variety of flavors. A well put together beer worthy of being tasted by any craft beer drinker. The price isn't terrible, but it's not great either. I'm not sure how often this will end up in my crate though, even though it was an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an wide open mouth glass. Somewhat orange/brown in color. About 2 fingers head. Has a very good sweet smell: citrus, flowers.

Pours and remains cloudy but didn't notice any particles floating around. Head leaves very consistent lacing. Drank at about 45 degrees.

Taste was very good, but not my favorite Trappist beer. Again citrus by taste. Very easy to drink though.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How have I not reviewed this beer? I mean, good lord, we visited the Orval brewery 3 years ago, I've enjoyed it a number of times before and since...shame on me. This is an 11.2 oz/33cl bottle (bottled on 23/09/2008, so just over a year old), poured to an Orval goblet.

A: Others may claim to compare, but there is quite simply none other than an Orval when it comes to the appearance. Massive head, a flocculant 2+ fingers of ivory. It would easily crest the glass if not for its solid, tight-spun foam. A honey-amber beneath that ridiculous cap, a light haze and plenty of tiny bubbles wriggling from the etched base. Lace coats the entire glass in a complete sheet, thicker foam sticks in bands.

S: Hay-like grassiness and flowery honey rise from the glass, a captivating 'brett' yeastiness balances. Sneaking sweetness approaches then regresses: dried cherries, candied apples, cinnamon, apricots.

T: Nuances abound: grassy grain, peach cobbler, baked apples, cracked pepper, ripe pears, tart cherries, mint sprigs. Ends with a dusty dryness, an almost brutal mineral flavor, but sugars still jockey for position to the end.

M: Clean and crisp effervescence, smooth carbonation, delicate feel, maybe on the thin side if we're looking for 'faults'. Light-medium body, long mineral-dry finish.

D: Epitomizes the Belgian Pale style for me: crisp, yeasty dryness, 'rustic' flavor, bountiful aroma, and, oh, that look. Do yourself a favor and buy some for now and for later...among the world's best fresh, even better with some age. I don't recall loving this beer nearly as much in my early days but now it's divine: A+.

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Photo of mikecharley
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light, murky, amberish straw color. Huge pillowey, craggy head stays for well over 2 minutes. This looks amazing. The head actually sticks out well over the edge of the glass, but doesnt run over. Leaves a really nice lacing on the way down too. Lovely looking brew.

Nose is musty, malty, spicy. These are the main components, in this order. there is some slight bittering hops, but not much.

The taste is wonderful. Lots of spice. Some underlying hops. All this with a background of musty, funky yeast. Freakin fantastic.

Light airy carbo. Very soft in the mouth. Really nice

This is the best example of the style I've ever had. Hands down. This is also a style I typically do not like.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a white birch glass from the distinct bottle.

The pour yields a tall, foamy, thick, frothy, sticky head that climbs almost out of the glass and keeps its shape without bubbling over. As the head fades it leaves a sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The body is a hazy amber/orange with a nice glow around the edges.

The smell is a slightly spicy and grassy hop accompanied by a nice graham cracker sweetness. There is also nice underlying scent of tart apple cider.

The taste flavors follow the smell very closely. The grassy hop characters are joined by a nice lemon zest. The hop characters fade to an earthiness that is washed away by a quick light sweet taste of graham cracker. The tones of sour cider come through at the end and finish the taste up nice and dry.

The beer is perfectly carbonated and the alcohol isn't present in the flavors at all. The beer is light and crisp, something you can definitely drink more than one bottle of.

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Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Delightful light amber glow with a frothy head and decadent lacing on my Satan snifter.

S: Lemon zest, juniper, floral notes and baking flour.

T: That beer is slap yo' momma good! You get all of the flavors that you got in the nose along with a delicate yeasty flavor, sharp hop bite, and a cider note or two as well. The hop bite is not overwhelming but has a threefold purpose: flavor, palate cleansing, and giving the beer an abyss-like dryness to it. Immaculate!

M: Dry, medium bodied, and just a mind-blowing experience.

D: They have been rocking this beer since the 1100s. And I pray they never stop.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that was bottled on 22/04/2009 with an expiration date listed as 22/04/2014. Sampled on October 10, 2009. I bought it warm and let it chill but maybe not long enough as the lightweight, cottony foamy head was about three inches thick on top of the glass. Still it poured a nice copper color with plenty of lacing and rather cloudy. The aroma was comforting with its milder sweet malt and light hop mixture. A full bodied mouthfeel. The taste was a fabulous sweet malt, vaguely wheaty, and dryly hopped experience. Overall, a very mild brew with a high ABV. This is top of the line stuff although the next time I buy it, I will let it sit around for a few more months before cracking it open.

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Photo of stcules
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oranged red, with copper edges. A lot of foam, beige and creamy.
Orval classic smell: malt, hop and brettanomyces. Some bread crust.
The typical pungent and characteristic flavour of this beer. Dusty, "dirty", funky.
Malt and bread crust in the taste, and then a good bitterness, with a hint of tartness. Unique.
Realively light in body. A lot of bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of FernMaster
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my Boulevard Goblet.
I've seen this beer before and I've always been meaning to try it but I never did until I heard that Orval and Boulevard were doing a collaboration together.
The pour from the Orval yielded more head than my goblet normally allows. Almost a full five fingers worth! The head was a nice white color and the beer is a sort of murky gold. The smell is really sweet, I really like it. It smells almost like a lambic, with the hint of fruits. Maybe some banana, mixed berries, a hint of raspberry and something else I can't quite identify. I took a couple of drinks before writing this, but before I get to taste I must commend the beer on lacing this goblet. This goblet eats all sorts of foam from any beer, yet Orval prevails over it - it must be a sign that their collaboration will be a success. The feel of the beer is almost dry, like a pale ale. The taste is really unique however, the scent of the beer is backed up in the taste, the banana, raspberry, malts and others and it's slightly sour, yet slightly sweet. It's different and tasty; I could definitely drink a couple of these in a night if it wasn't for the almost five dollar price tag. I could easily see myself picking these up occasionally for the rest of my life when I want to indulge myself a little. Try it if you haven't already.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can you believe I call myself a BA and I have never tried this? For shame! Thanks to the kind soul who took notice and forwarded it on to me. Served out of my cellar and poured into a chalice, this one was consumed on 10/08/2009.
The pour was just what I would have expected. Bright golden amber in color with a nig head of white on top that only slowly faded as the session wore on, dropping tons of lace up and down the sides of the glass. Richness to it that looked just fantastic as it warms up. Aroma of light fruit touches, hints of a light grassy touches, maybe pine. Apples and grape skin start to come to the front as it warms up and it gets a very complex touch to it. Smooth, even flavor here, really quite wonderful. Light and airy on the palate, the carbonation is spot on. Light touches of apples and bananas, hints of light peach and a delicate touch of grape are all coming out at me. Nice bready and grainy touch to it now as well, really again very well done. I was quite impressed with just how flavorful this was. Nice dry finish capped it off quite well and left a near spot on aftertaste.
Overall cannot believe I let this one go so long. Cannot believe it as it is such a top not offering. One of the elite for sure I would have this any day.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is my 100th review... again. I already did my 100th review (Arrogant Bastard from Stone) but it became my 98th review overnight as the Great Database Error of 2009 ate my reviews for Stone Ruination and Allagash Odyssey. So... cheers for me reaching the 100th review milestone for the second time this week!

11.2oz. bottle (dated 9/23/08) served into a globe glass

Pours a lemon/orange sun-kissed dark yellow. Its very much in between yellow and orange. The head... wow. Forget the finger scale, Orval pours a greater than one HAND sized white head. Large bubbles mixed with small and oh, so creamy looking at the top. The lacing is all over the place, notches of sporadic sea foam splashed all over the glass. This is the kind of appearance that photographers would do nasty things to achieve. It looks like the Platonic form of beer itself. I have to say that this beer was very difficult to pour. It was explosive out of the bottle, ala Duvel. The foam is so spectacular that there were notches of lacing IN THE BOTTLE.

Aromas of sweet, ripe bananas hit first. Its a very juicy banana smell that is completely unlike the banana of a hefewiezen, say. Golden delicious apple and white grape bolster the yeasty fruitiness. Actually, it can't all be yeast fruitiness; some of it is coming from lupulin. There is a kiss of pine to go along with the other hop flavors. Mild funk from the Brett does wonderful things here. Strands (not the best word but its what comes to mind) of sourness serve to highlight the inherent qualities of the fruit aromas, while fleeting ghosts of horseblanket ground everything in this lovely farm sort of context. All of the aromas in Orval work together to tell a story, which is amazing to me. The malt is sort of lost in all of the yeast aromas, but I can forgive that.

The base of the flavor comes from the pale malts and the pale ale-level of hoppiness. Drying, piny flavors cover the mouth only to give way to developing flavors of banana and white grape from the nose. The Brett ensures that everything is tart and suitably sour. Its not funky on the palate, but the Brett is appreciated just the same. Its hard to pin this beer down. Its very complex and it happens to be almost completely unique, especially amongst its Trappist brethren.

The mouthfeel is too watery for me. I think a little more substance in the body would carry the flavors better. This beer is certainly drinkable enough; its an expensive session candidate but a couple of bottles paired with a dish of pork with seasonal vegetables would be exquisite.

This is a very unique beer; direct comparisons are nearly impossible. I did recently review a beer that comes close though -- Goose Island's Sofie. I don't know why I'm sharing that information. Back on track: this beer is complex, drying yet refreshing, worthy of universal praise. Everyone should have this at least once.

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Photo of JamesS
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep amber (near coppe) color with fantastic head and lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with wonderful fruit attributes (apple, cherry, and banana). Great deep malty flavor, nice hint of fruit; the aftertaste is complex, with a bit of hops and fruit and with a near cloying finish. Goes down thick, but nice and smooth. Not my favorite trappist, but really, really good nonetheless.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange with a ridiculously large head. Lots of great lacing!
Big brett aroma of lemon, orange, elderberry, apple and musty horse-blanket. More like a lambic.
First up upon tasting is sweet caramel malt, with some faint tart orange tang before a pithy bitterness cuts through. Hints of banana in there somewhere.
Good light body with a refreshing carbonation.

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Photo of juju7
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a brew. Haven't had it or a while so it was great revisiting tonight. That complexity on the nose of brett, pine, potpourri, barnyard is quite unique. To then deliver something tart, slightly sour yet so palatable is pretty special. It looks great too, radiant orange with a billowing head. Fairly low carbonation and a finish that doesn't give up. This is top shelf stuff.

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Photo of PartyBear
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obviously a classic and respected Trappist ale, I've had this a number of times in the past, and figured it was time to offer my opinion.

Appearance: Reddish amber going on auburn, with a mountainous foamy head with superb retention. Lots and lots of carbonation.

Aroma: Sharp, sour and acidic. Lots of citric fruit in there, lemons, oranges, limes, incredibly zesty. There is a hint of ginger, pepper, and yeast. Some cinnamon, and a light underlying caramel. There is more with every sniff.

Taste: Plenty of sourness, and yeasty acid. Lemons, orange peel, and sour cherries. There is a distinctive pepperiness about the flavours, which adds to the powerful dryness. There is a base sweetness there that all everything is built on, caramel, aged honey, and a mild toffee.

Mouthfeel: Very lively in the mouth, dry, and rough.

Drinkability: Orval's taste is unique, the original and unreplicated. It's another one of those beers that you really have to have tried at least once in your life.

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Photo of Docer
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

- Slightly cloudy orange/yellow... lots of fluffy white head... had to wait often for it to settle in between pours. Always left a fine layer of light foam. Bubbly...

- Light sourness.. ester, and mild bready yeast.... little bit of funk... but none overpowering.

- Sour up front... almost like apple, or a cider. After the sour funk goes by, it is way more tame and mild than I expected.. very tasty and light. Hides any alcohol it may have very well.

- Little mouth watering, overall so smooth the mouthfeel is rather mild and absent.

- Very drinkable, and a fantastic imported style all in its own. Would certainly buy it again.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9/25/07

Orval pours a very bright, hazy orange. Lots of bubble action, I'm guessing two years of bottle fermenting has upped the carbonation levels a bit. The head is big and thick and creamy, the Belgian's are masters at that art. Looks beautiful.

Wow, the aroma is a ton of the sour, bitter, funky Brettanomyces. Its like sour cherry almost. There is also a bit of that musty, farmhouse sort of smell going on. If you're not into these sorts of smells, just give it some time. A two-year old bottle of Orval is heavenly.

First sip and its clear that this beer has changed and become an entirely new beast. The mouthfeel is a bit more mellow and smooth, lots of earthy flavors and of course the funk from the Brett. Lots of sour notes on the tongue that bounce around with the carbonation. Pretty incredible how much this beer has changed and how well it holds up. The bottle itself shows an "expiration" date as being in 2012!

Amazing stuff, not sure for how much longer I'd want to cellar a bottle of Orval. It must hit a peak before the flavor profile really mellows and it becomes somewhat bland and musty tasting. I'm happy I gave this bottle a nice second birthday party.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky dark honey, near white head leaves slow to disk. Some sudsy lace.

S - Extremely funky and barny. I have to admit I was a little afraid.

T - Complex. All over the board. Spice, funk, fruit. It is killer with thinly slice provolone cheese.

M - Medium body, more than enough carb. Decent coat.

D - Too much crazy beer. Exhausting.

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Photo of ludachris
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 03/09/2008

Pours a brilliant marmalade hue that seems to have somewhat of a glow to it. A massive 3 and a half finger billowing, thick, chunky, creamy, slightly off white head top the beer after a gentle pour, coming to a rocky peek in the centre of the glass. Chunky, sticky lacing coat the sides.

Smell of sour white grapes almost salty in nature, chewy raison, biscuity malt, spice, banana and fruity esters. Incredibly complex.

Green grapes make quite an appearance in the taste along with fruity esters, green apple, sweet malts, biscuit, hints of citrus and a peppery dry finish. 6.9 ABV is well hidden.

Smooth and refreshingly crisp. I think it could have been made a tad more full in the body but nothing to complain about.

Overall, an EXCELLENT brew. By far one of the most complex beers I've had to date. Took me about 4 or 5 mouthfulls before I pegged down what I could in the taste. Things seemed to just keep popping up. The head seemed to rival Duvel, but paired with the magnificent orange hue, the appearance is unparalleled to anything else I've ever had. Highly recommended and would gladly buy another.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,378 ratings.
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