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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.21/5
5,424 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#968
Reviews:
2,351
Ratings:
5,424
pDev:
12.35%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
360
Gots:
929
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,424 |  Reviews: 2,351
Photo of Durge
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very lively brew showing a hazy deep amber color with a giant golden head with lots of gobby lacing. The aroma is sweet banana malt and lemon herbal hop, very delightful and complex. The taste brings an odd lemon malt blend that immediately grows on you if that makes sense. It has a soft corriander butterscotch blend with a spicey and very tart finish that shows some melon subtleties. The feel is a smooth mid-body with plenty of spritz. It's reasonably drinkable and a very unique option for refreshment and flavor. Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright yellow-orange with a fluffy, frothy white head. Good retention and generous lacing. Aroma is a mix of light fruits and Belgian yeast, with a lemony-zest undertone. The aroma seems to be a good omen of what's to come, but the taste just doesn't quite deliver, in my opinion. There's a nice blend of light fruits, lemon and white grapes with the typical Belgian yeast notes - but it's all a bit subdued. There's minimal aftertaste, which is always great in my book, but the overall taste just doesn't impress like I feel it should. Dry crisp finish with generous carbonation and a fairly light body. Drinkability is decent - there's nothing offensive here to slow you down, but I just wasn't particularly wow'd either.

In short, the beer does pretty much everything right and doesn't offend in any way...but the total package is somewhat unremarkable, in my opinion. It's missing that proverbial "je ne sais pas." Regardless, it's a good brew - just doesn't bring the "wow" factor.

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Photo of andrewroush
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 4/29/2009 - 11.2 fl oz

A - Hazy amber-orange color with 3 finger rocky white head poured into an oversized wine glass. Lacing almost covers the inside of the glass.

S - Lemon-citrus scent right off the bat with a strong yeasty nose. A hint of wood and something else I can't put my finger on.

T - Mildly bitter with a hoppy citrus aftertaste. Very dry finish. I was little disappointed at the taste after such a beautiful pour. The sweetness of the malt comes through a little after it warms. It's very unique, like nothing I've ever tasted.

M - Highly carbonated and rich, but not too thick.

D - I didn't dislike this beer, but I don't think I would drink another one.

After seeing how highly this beer was rated I was disappointed after I got my hands on it. It's not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't particularly suit my tastes. I wouldn't purchase it again.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant yellowish orange, nice bubbles and a head that will be as big as you want it.

Absolutely wonderful nose; bretty funk, white pepper, a light woody note, white grapes.

Flavors are similar to the nose with brisk carbonation and finishing dry with great noble hop character.

Sensational in refreshment and drinkability. Classic and inspiring. Yes, please.

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Photo of mklinger
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. A very thick, rocky head formed. There's an effervescence about this beer that is very pretty in the pour. The beer pours a pale orange amber. I did my best to get a clean pour but it came out pretty hazy. It's an interesting, complex looking beer.

Aroma was great. i got some lemon & herbs right away followed quickly by a bit of the barnyard aroma that folks talk about as wet horse blanket. Again, this is just such a complex aroma profile.

Taste is complex too, though I didn't find that it held up quite as well as the aroma (but it was close). More of the barnyard in my taste profile, not as much bitterness as I thought there might be. Good bit of sourness, too. Quite tart.

Rich mouthfeel. The carbonation lends a fullness to this beer that is otherwise greater than the body. Quite nice.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the hugest expanding heads I ever came across, even for a Belgian. The head is a pillowy landscape of cloud like forms, dense and lush looking. Very bubbly with carbonation. Somewhat clouded with yeast, which with Orval I think doesn't take away from it. So, I wasn't too careful with the pour. Reddish, burnt copper orange in color. Head finally fell to a dense pillowy blanket, That stays the entire duration of the glass, and probably would stay alive all night.

Mellow spices, some clove, and familiar Belgium yeastiness. Somewhat dry, lightly bitter finish.

Taste is clove spice and a light fruitiness. Somewhat phenolic qualities in the taste and nose.

Medium bodied with great carbonation, crisp tasty finish and light on the tongue.

Great drinkability, this beer is delicious, balanced great, and is so easy to drink it practically disappears. Will improve review later.

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Photo of hiikeeba
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours up a cloudy orange/amber with a rocky tan head

S - Citrus aromas hints of spice.

T - Some malt sweetness, accented by ripe apple or banana like flavor, finishes a bit astringent.

M - Strong carbonation on my tongue

D - The bitterness/tartness lingers. Still a drinkable beer.

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Photo of fropones
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 20/02/2008

A - Solid pour into my Chimay chalice led to a bubbly and alive 1 finger head. A nice burnt orange color to this beer. Clear and somewhat yellow.

S - Muscat grapes and lemon. Some acidity here as well. If this beer tastes half as good as it smells it'll be delicious.

T - A nice lemony flavor up front with some funky barnyard here too. Some medicinal phenols. Not too much hop bitterness, as would be expected since this puppy is almost 2 years old. Will let this one warm up to see what other flavors poke their head out. Some pale malt in the aftertaste.

M - Medium bodied with great carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Drinks nicely. A solid brett beer with some good flavors. Could drink a couple of these.

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Photo of jbonapar
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First time finding an Orval, the last of the Easier to get Trappists I have yet to try. Looking forward to this as I actually had to drive to Quebec to find it!

Appearance - Poured a copperish color with dark, slightly off black pieces of yeast in the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Floral, bitter medicinal. Strange, different for sure.

Taste - Hmmm. Let me think...Bitter, somewhat offputting to me. I've had a number of sips, its not too warm, not too cold, i just find this hard to drink. There is a almost moldy flavor to it. Do I have a bad bottle? I don't believe people would rate a beer like this so highly. I honestly can't finish this beer.

Mouthfeel - nice carbonation with fine bubbles, but the mold is putting me off.

UPDATE:
Tried again after 2 years of becomming more experienced in beer, particularly Saisons and more "funky" beer.

In hindsight, i am enjoying this. The bitterness is pleasing now. I understand the slightly chalky, dampness and its actually very enjoyable. I'm proud that I've developed a palate for beers like this. I think its a beer that people can like after you've experimented with different styles. I can now see why people love this beer. A true experience for sure.

Probably one of the first time I've ever poured out a "high quality" beer. I'm not sure if this is gone bad, i find it hard to believe this is the taste people are raving about.

Perhaps I'll have to try again sometime, but i have to be honest.

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Photo of Errto
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Amity Wine. Bottled 5/08/2009 which puts it right in the 6-12 month sweet spot (unless that means it was brewed in August???)

Pours a rather pale gold color, long lasting head, good carbonation, slightly cloudy.

Usually I don't detect much in the smell of beers at all, which is part of why I don't review much. But this has an incredible flowery, sweet smell that is hard to resist.

The taste is unlike any beer I've had (yet). Hop bitterness is definitely there, more so than in other Belgians I've had, and it's got that rich sweet thing going on, but it's also a touch sour towards the end, enough to notice but not enough to be squirm-inducing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light considering the taste, kind of nice. Plenty of carbonation to keep the senses tingled.

Drinkability: well, as a pale ale at less than 7%, yeah, it's pretty damn drinkable. I'd drink another right now if I had one.

Overall, I'm extremely glad I finally got to try this. I get the impression from here on BA that there really aren't other beers like Orval, which is a shame because I'd seek them out.

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Photo of NicholasCasber
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer was stored for roughly 1 1/2 years after bottled on date (5/6/08), however, best before date was 5/6/13.

A: This beer poured a nice muddy tan, with some nice head that seems to have some staying power, which has given some nice lacing.

S: The smell was slightly citrus and hops, but wasn't overwhelming.

T: The taste was outstanding, and a little bit on the alcohol side.

M: The beer felt fairly watery, and not what I was expecting.

D: I'd rate this higher if it wasn't for the mouthfeel that I got, overall it's a decent beer, but slightly disappointed in the actual feel.

I'd recommend this one to any body. Good beer overall, best of luck in your finds. Cheers.

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Photo of thistle3189
3.84/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was brewed on 13/11/08 so about 13 mounts old, probably not Ideal but well within the best before date 13/11/2013.

A: Wow big creamy white head and lots of carbonation. Almost like Champagne or some of the questionable cider that I have made. Color is Copper Orange. It is beautiful but anything looks cool in that Belgian style Glassware.
S: Citric and a little Cindery
T: This is a different taste; there is fruitiness and some spiciness. It is very complex some how with out being overpowering, the alcohol comes through in the flavor as well as the carbonation.
M: The carbonation is there in the mouth feel, Dryer than I would have expected.
D: I could drink a few if it were less expensive and more approachable, I will try it again when I have gained more knowledge.

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Photo of Brez07
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from last night's notes. 11.2oz pour into a Orval chalice

A: Pours light orange with a 1 finger ivory head. Lots of visible carbonation

S: Sweet fruit, like kiwi, but not over the top. Definitely a floral presence as well

T: Light tasting sour apple. Toasted wheat accompanies this with some bitterness and maybe even a little pepper. There's lots of flavor here, some of which I can't quite get at

M: Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation (as the appearance would suggest). Dry, slightly tart finish

D: Very easy to drink. Clearly a complex beer, but it doesn't overwhelm you, which is good. Will be having another one of these hopefully soon

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Photo of boldcity2008
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The color is a deep orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Some pine hops, lemon and orange, something juniper like, lots of herbs and hop flower resin, but not piney, grapefruit like I guess. Brett is there of course.

T: Just out of this world. So it starts very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper and lots of brett in the front end. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste. Smooth and crisp

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are.

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Photo of randawakes
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very thick doubled-height head that dissipates at a moderate pace at first, then slows to a crawl with great lace. Milky golden color. Liquid mouthfeel is bubbly! Faint orange taste with mild citrus notes, but nothing stands out too far. Quite a bit of bitterness

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange amber with a big, dense, white head. Loads of lacing on the glass.

Smells of some yeast funkiness and light lemon and herbs in the background.

Tastes of some light fruits upfront and some yeast funkiness on the end. The fruits have pear and apple characteristics with some lemon on top. The herbal note is present and provides a spicy bitterness. Some alcohol comes through as it warms.

Mouthfeel is prickly, too much carbonation, but the body is fairly light.

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Photo of Pahn
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Huge, pillowy white head despite a slow, careful pour. Head sticks around forever, ending up as a dollop of uneven foam with about a 1/4 inch thick head remaining around it. The extensive lacing clings to the glass forming a web. The beer is a deep, rather opaque amber with a few stray bubbles. One of the most beautiful and inviting looking beers I've ever seen.

Smell: Grassy, with a hint of lemon and a mild belgian yeasty funk. The smell exploded out of the bottle as soon as the bottle opener cracked the cap, and stayed nice and strong throughout.

Taste: So deep. Every sip yields an entirely new experience, and always unlike any other beer. I got grassy notes, black pepper, a nice hoppy bite, floral notes, leather. The finish is alternately soapy and tart, or big and bready, occasionally even sweet. Lots of musty tones, again reminding me of the smell of leather or even cologne. It's such a strange tasting beer, and the taste never mellows out or stops delivering new experiences.

Feel: Perfection. Creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Also excellent, primarily because of the exceptional mouthfeel, and also because the taste never stops growing. The alcohol is quite well masked as well, though it does occasionally provide some pleasant warmth.

Probably the most interesting beer I've ever tasted. There are many beers whose taste I prefer, but very few that get anywhere near the complexity of Orval (Trappistes Rochefort 10 is the only one I can think of, though I haven't been able to get my hands on any Westvleteren yet).

Note: absolutely do not drink this beer too cold. You may as well not drink it at all if you're not going to have it warm enough to unleash all its complexity. Definitely a beer that every beer drinker--regardless of preferred style--should try at least once.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 4/29/09

Well finally I got around to tasting this "world class" Belgian trappist brew. Let me start out by saying it lived up to the hype, albeit not completely however.

What a beautiful appearance! Very luxurious frothy head with a steady stream of carbonation. Pours a dark amber/ light brown and there is generous lacing on the tulip glass. This is exactly the appearance I look for when it comes to drinking a fine Belgian ale. It is entices you with the promises of immediate enjoyment at hand, literally speaking.

Now the aroma was somewhat lacking. Some herbal notes and faint sweet and sour funkiness comes through, but overall there are no stand outs and the aroma as a whole is very light. While this is most likely a testament to the high degree of balance this beer has, it just doesn't quite do it for me.

The taste is a very complex mix of subtle overtones, with a pronounced bitterness that is far from harsh. The Brett funk is distinct with some detectable biscuit malt and very faint tart fruit (possibly cherries?). There is some nice alcohol warming and indeed, like the label states, a long and dry finish.

This beer certainly lives up to the hype when it comes to the mouthfeel. Amazingly soft and creamy. Its highly carbonated body feels pillowy on the tongue. Almost as if the beer just is absorbed into the ether after making contact with the tongue. Quite the experience.

While it is a most complex and highly balanced beer, I would not consider having another in any particular session. The beer definitely held my interest in trying to decipher its complexities further, but after one my desire was extinguished. However a positive feeling the beer imparted lingered on... I like to consider this beer as a Belgian take on a bitter ale with a purposeful eye on balance.

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Photo of AlexMunse
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I saw this beer earlier tonight on the shelf and have enjoyed Trappist ales before, so I thought I'd give it a go. The guy at the beer store also told me I should try it and I value his opinion.

I'm pouring at 50 degrees into an 11oz snifter.

It pours a light amber/dark peach color with a bit of cloudyness to it. It looks like a beer I would enjoy just from the color. I've got about a two finger head which is very frothy and thick.

It smells almost sweet, as I've come to expect from Trappist beers, but not so sweet as other beers I've tried (Lindemans). The smell has a lot of complexity, but I can't really pinpoint any one aspect that stands out. I do, however, notice a distinct absence of an alcohol smell, which I appreciate.

The taste is very light and refreshing with, as I said about the smell, a lot of complexity. There isn't an overpowering taste of anything but hops. It's mild, but almost fruity. Oranges or lemons, I can't tell.

I would buy this beer again, the taste and price are right for what I got. I am fully satisfied and would love to share this with friends. The only downside to this beer is the head is a little to much, in my opinion.

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Photo of flannelman808
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a somewhat hazy amber color and is topped with a billowy bone white head. Pancake batter head which has nice lacing to boot. Fairly large bubbles throughout the foam.

S: This stuff smells so good! Lots going on; Spice, Lemon zest, ginger, grass, and a bit of a sour dried tangerine quality.

T: Tons of complexity and yet easy to drink. I get spice in the back of my palate, and some nice fruity esters in the front. There is some aloe like qualities going on as well. This is a very dry finishing beer. There is a mild hop quality coming through in the dryness as well.. not overbearing but present.

M: prickly and mouthfilling.

D: very easy to drink (but not fast)... the alcohol is completely hidden.

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Photo of caddybuyer
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a nicely cellared bottle (bottled 9/07, best before 9/12) 12/09 review.

A-Beautiful rich golden color with marked clarity and a creamy foamy tan head that lasts forever. Very nice.

S-Pungent yeasty aroma with hints of citrus. A subtle earthiness behind it all. A very clean and refreshing nose.

T-An effervescent tartness reminiscent of slightly sweet citrus rinds, a grassy haylike midrange followed by a refreshing astringent bitterness and a lingering clean bitter finish. This is both complex yet simple as strange as it may sound, and is a very refreshing beer.

M-Slightly overcarbonated like most Belgians, a medium mouthfeel that is neither sticky nor chewy but simply clean and refreshing.

D-A very good beer that I would not hesitate to try again. Would be very nice on a warm summer day in place of the usual American IPA.

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Photo of BlackHoleBrew42
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Golden amber Nectar, huge head, beautifully and highly carbonated

S- oooh, theres the brettanomyces... noble hops, i think Styrian Goldings. getting goosebumps.

T- Good lord. I dont know why, this beer just makes sense. Not to sout, beautiful hoppiness, but not bitter. perfectly balanced sour sweet bitter. Good lord.

M- As before, high carbonation, delicious lingering sourness, a tear comes to my eye as the flavor fades...

D- For me, my desert island beer.

Theres a store here in Colorado that sells bottles for $2.49 a piece... might need to go buy a case, although i might drink it all in a few days. Seriously. Amazing stuff. I love these Cistercian monks, got to make it to the brewery some day. Soon.

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Photo of mikeborglum
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

spruce, citrus, floral, color orange amber, light haze, rocky white head, good lacing, smooth crisp taste medium sweetness, medium sourness, lively carbonation, light body, long finish,

highly recommended from one of my local bottle stores and a great choice. I will try this again.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Cloudy and opaque, a dark butterscotch color, but only in color, nice and light looking, foams up nicely then settles to just under half a finger of off frothy and light looking white head, stays thick against the sides

S: Tangy and sweet fruity aromas abound, lots of variety, some spiciness gets imparted from that unique belgian yeast, some mild belgian hop aroma is also present, that tangyness is also accompanied by some of those barnyard/earthy aromas as well, very nice

T: Starts kind of spicy (carbonation also affects this), but turns very tart and also sweet just like the smell with all that fruit/barnyard/earthy hint, almost like fruit skins, then the hops come in and start to increase in intensity, pretty mild flavor but adds good bitterness to the mix, complex flavor profile, but remains light and very enjoyable

M: Highly carbonated like many belgians, creates an airy, light mouthfeel, helps tartness carry, but also cleanses at the end

D: Surprisingly drinkable for all of the flavors present, that nice light mouthfeel really helps

Notes: Very unique, Orval has always been a standard for me, it may not appeal to everyone because of its distinct flavors, but I like its uniqueness. This is definitely a belgian classic.

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Photo of eagles22
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: beautiful 3 finger white fluffy head nice hazey orange body

Smell: yeast, straw, apricots and also some malts

Taste: very simple but complex brew..nice hop citrus notes first than smooth very light malt character somehwhat of a sour brew but in a good way

Mouthfeel: medium body with carbonation

Drinkability: if you find this beer enjoy this one enjoy it for all its worth cuz its worth every penny

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 5,424 ratings
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