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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,480 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:
#1,119
Reviews:
2,361
Ratings:
5,480
pDev:
12.38%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
361
Gots:
953
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,480 |  Reviews: 2,361
Photo of johannasclimacus
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week.

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Photo of BeerGodz
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange/amber color, slight haze, massive head with excellent retention & lacing

Smell: Brett Funk, bready malts, all kinds of fruit - amazing!

Taste: Up Front: Tart, acidic, earthy, dark fruit. Finish: Brett funk, bready malt

Mouthfeel: Light body, effervescence, with a dry finish

Drinkability: Well balanced and it goes down easy, despite the alcohol bite

Overall Impression: It's been a while since I had this beer. In fact, I had not developed an appreciation for Belgian's back then. I was not expecting much from this one; OH My ME was I wrong!!! This is what Begian beer is all about people!!! I see myself drinking this one very often. In fact, I may have to go get more this evening.

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Photo of BorntoLate86
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
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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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A-Hazy gold with a bubbly white head that leaves some nice cascading.

S-Fruity, floral, malty with a hint of hops.

T-White pepper, floral, hops, malt, and some carbonated water are present at first. As it warmed I noticed some grape notes and a nice bready note in the finish. Its complex and unique from any other beer I've tried.

M-Carbonated, yet thick, but I think its a little too carbonated.

D-Drinkability is through the roof.

Overall, this is a classic and truley unique beer. I must try.

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Photo of CMW
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pour a dark golden color, much darker than most Belgian pale ales. Head is huge with a good amount of soapy lacing. Tons of carbonation can be seen from the side of the glass.

S - There are a few aromas going on here. Floral notes are mixed with some cherries and a heap of funk.

T - The taste starts out with some earthy grass flavor. Then I pick up the sweetness from sour dark fruits like cherries and figs. Finally there is some nice funk in the end to provide an extra kick of sour.

M - The high carbonation provides a nice creamy feel.

D - This thing is highly drinkable. Great tasting and not overpowering with alcohol.

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Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite"

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this was a fine 08 vintage bottle...
falls delightfully into my glass like a perfumed fat kid into a pit of balls, spewing forth odors and kicking balls up from the deep in a futile effort to right himself. the carbonation continues to flow up, bringing the smells. the sharpness of lemon, a little funk, a touch of malty sweetness, a twinge of earthy hops. the flavor profile is similar, a bit sharp and bitter, and delectable, but it feels a bit overcarbonated in my glass. i wait to let it warm up but some asshole finishes my glass so we can taste some homebrew. what a hard life.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours into the glass with a huge, beautiful head. The head on this thing is really alive here. It just keeps rising. When everything settles, there is a amber-golden brew underneath that active foam.

The effervescence and alcohol clear the senses. The aroma is a thing of beauty. Fresh herbs are contrasted by earthy funk. As the beer warms those leathery, wet wool tones overtake the herbal sage.

Very light on the palate, and bone, bone dry. Bitter and acidic on the palate. A little malt through the center provides a nice balance to this complex ale. Citrus and funk combine with bitterness to make this one appetizing brew.

The successful combination of fresh and funk, new and old, depth and pizazz make this one complex brew. Orval may only produce one beer, but when that one beer is as good as this, why produce anything else?

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Photo of Chambic
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

02.05.10 at Bloodhound

A: light opaque brown, sort of copper

S: very interesting leather-like scent

T: a mixed bag, it's got a bit of everything: kinda funky, kinda malty, slightly spiced

M: crisp and a bit dry

D: not bad, but not my favorite trappist

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've heard that this is a very polarizing brew, and unfortunately I fall on the end of the spectrum that doesn't like it. Pours a hazy copper color with sandy head that is comprised of large bubbles. The head fades to a small layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. Little lacing. Smell is ok, with some clove, cherry, and malty sweetness. The problem with Orval is the way it tastes. It tastes like every time someone at the brewery gets a cut, they save the band-aid for use in the boil with this beer. Seriously the phenol is out of control. I know some people really like that, but I am not a big fan of licking band-aids, especially for the price of this beer. Behind the band-aid, however, there's some nice cherry and citrus notes, along with some nice malt. MF is a little thin and bubbly for me, though not terrible. The phenolic character here is near-impossible to stomach for me, and, as such, drinkability suffers. Stick with St. Bernardus, Duvel, Westy, --I don't care, something other than this.

A-3.5 S-3.5 T-2.5 MF-3.5 D-1.5, Overall 2.9 C

EDIT: That was my first taste of this beer, and I'm almost 100% sure I had a bad bottle because I'm sipping on it again (having avoided it since) and it is nothing like the above description. So here's another go at it:

Pours a pretty copper color with big pillowy white head. The head sticks around for a while, leaving a nice cap on the beer. Laces as it goes as well. Smell is delicious, big tart citrus, some mustiness, some barnyard-y funk, a hint of cherry-like phenol. Very nice, the Brett makes a nice play in this guy.

Taste is what I was afraid of, but this is completely different than last time. None of the band-aid flavor, just a nice pale ale malt base, bready, slightly sweet, underneath some moderately aggressive hopping. A light fruitiness is there in the middle as well. Finish is long and varied between bitter hops, lightly toasted bread, and the yeasty subtle fruitiness. A big surprise, and I am very happy to have revisited it.

On mouthfeel, maybe could use a bit more creaminess to it. Decent body for the style though. Far more drinkable than before, a quite delicious brew, actually. I'm glad I tried it again.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque golden orange, nice creamy white two finger head, very active carbonation.

Smell has hints of spices, lemon, and floral notes. Also getting a little bit of sourness in the aroma which makes me very nervous about this bottle, may not be as fresh as it chould be.

Taste is light citrus, toasted malts, a tinge of sourness but not as bad as I had expected judging from the aroma. Also has some lemon, coriander spice, and a hoppy character that is present almost the entire way through and finishes very, very dry - one of the driest beers I've had.

Mouthfeel is light, "airy" and delicate, the carbonation is "fluffy" on the tongue and is slow to dissipate. Some people have put the body on the medium side but I think it runs closer to the heavier side of light, not quite medium. Drinkability is good, I dig the bitterness factor as I'm not used to getting that very often in a Belgian ale.

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Photo of BostonBrewins
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a glowing golden orange opaque. Head is frothy and brilliantly white. Alot of lacing with this one. Truly a beautiful ale.

S - Very fragrant, it hit my nose as I was pouring it. Smells very sweet (fruity esters) with some spicy undertones. An intriguing combination.

T - This is one of those rare beers in which the smell only hints at the taste. Some nice complexity here. Toasty with a hint of sweetness. Spicy flavors of pepper and coriander contrast with a bit of citrussy fruitiness. The hops really come through in the finish.

M - Pleasant mouthfeel. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

D - Complex and flavorful yet fairly light. This would be perfect on a spring day.

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Photo of mechamifune
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time. I've heard a lot of others say that this beer defies simple classification and after drinking it I can see why.

Pours with an immense amount of slightly tan head into a chimay glass. Obvious carbonation and the smell is more subdued that i'm expecting. If I had to pick something out it would be some slight citrus, but i come away with a sense of dryness more than anything.

Upon tasting its somewhat hard to describe.... some subdued hops, but mostly a little fruit and a lingering perfume-ish taste. The mouthfeel is continuously foamy, dry, but somehow still relatively light.

While this drinks relatively light, this is not a beer to drink quickly. There is a lot going on and you really have to sip it to get through it enjoyably. As i progress through the glass the perfume aftertaste subsides a little and some hints of sourness come through.

In the end I'm not really sure what to think. This is obviously a beer with a lot going on and one that a lot of effort has gone into. In the world of beer I would classify this as a pretty unique experience... but still I'm not sure there's anything to bring me back to it. Still, its certainly worth a try for any beer lover.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Born on date: 29/07/09 So right where the brewers think it should be consumed. Six months after bottling.

Poured into my Duvel tulip the beer is orange amber. The light tan head is enormous. It fills at least two thirds of the glass. After a brief wait the glass is covered with globs of lace.

The aroma is musty dry citrus fruit. Hints of hops, wood and a nice amount of funk.

The flavor is a bit off putting. It basically full on dry funk. I like horse blanket and barnyard funk bu tnot in this concentrated form. I really can't pick out anything else.

The body is smooth and creamy. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall the beer looks and smells fantastic. It falls way short on flavor and drinkibilty.

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Photo of Brabander
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this beer in my Westvleteren chalice.

Pouring the beer in the glass it all looks very promissing. A nice white couloured head and an orangelike cloured beer. Nice carbonation.

The beer smells allright, citruslike, but the taste is not so good as the looks. I was a bit dissapointed after the first taste. The beers is a bit too (how can i say this?)hoppy. It is not as refreshing as one of the other abbey beers. I gives a strange aftertaste which i can't describe very well in English. It was the same taste like i had with some USA ipa beers.

That makes the review as it is. I see and smell a good beer, the rest is average which is not good enough when you are an abbey product.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale. 11.2oz. April 2009 vintage.

Appearance:
Semi-opaque orange/amber color with some light haze. 2.5 finger white head mushrooms up the glass and settles into a spongy, rocky landscape. Medium lacing.

Aroma:
Citrusy, some pine, flower

Taste:
It's smooth, crisp, and generally light. Slight tart-fruity flavor with a touch of lemon rind, and some medicinal phenols. The hop bite is not as intense as one would think, but this worked well in conjunction with other flavors.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Orval surprisingly accomplishes a light body but a full mouthfeel. Very nice. Carbonation is good (slightly reduced when ages which was quite nice). I find Orval very drinkable (I could have 2-3 more happily). and venerable.

Notes:
Orval comes in a unique, vase-like brown bottle. It's unusual, but a pleasing shape nonetheless. Orval also has venerable historic origins -- I mean the monastary dates back to the Merovingian period (1100's).

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A recent trip to the Kulminator in Antwerp led me to break out an aged Orval from my own cellar. This one was bottled in Nov of 2007 and I've had it aging for almost 2 years.

When I popped the top it immediately overflowed but I only lost a bit. Huge fluffy white head and a cloudy orange amber pour with incredible lacing. Very complex nose with hints of bread dough, perfume, clove, vanilla and oak. The alcohol scent was definitely more pronounced than a typical non-aged Orval.

The taste is also very complex and totally unique. Hints of lemon, vanilla, black pepper, apples, anise, and oak. It's sweet, spicy and sour all at once. Nice dry, bitter hop finish. A bit flat tasting but it's been my experience having drank several aged Belgians that most of them do taste flat. Alcohol is more evident than in the non-aged Orval but still well hidden. Truly one of the great beers of the world. Makes me realize how fortunate I am to have easy access to all I can drink!

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Photo of wescj
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

Looks great. Deep orange and quite cloudy, with a thick and rocky white head. Man, I love big, billowing heads with good retention.

Smells fresh, grassy, a bit citrusy.

Tastes very refreshing, featuring the same notes as the nose along with a good mustyness. A bit light, which fits perfectly with the grassy notes. Good 'n hoppy.

Great mouthfeel, not too light for the style. Everything about this beer comes together very well. My only complaint is the price, but that's not a factor in this review.

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Photo of alysonwhite
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark orange, very cloudy, perfect carbonation, full of life.

Smell - citrusy, flowery, caramel dank aroma.

Taste - caramel, biscuit, dense with excellent balance (no one taste too overpowering), great example of trappist beer.

Mouthfeel - somewhat heavy and coarse, but not over carbonated.

Drinkability - I would definitely drink this beer again.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bottle into the orval chalice at the Abbey in Orval.

The beer pours a dark orange with a huge light tan lasting and creamy head. Great retention and lacing.

The aroma is very ipaish with a nice balance of sweetness(grapefruit) and some some hops.

The taste is pretty hoppy throughout even the start which you would think would be sweet. The sweet comes in the middle then is followed by a bitter finish.

The feel is full with a slight dry finish that lasts quite awhile.

Overall, pretty different than most of the trappists but I like it pretty well.

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Photo of meeekyh
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am re-reviewing this beer from the comfort of my living room as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the Falling Rock.

Tonight I review the beer I got two more of to enjoy tomorrow with turkey and festivities and friends. The unique bottle is attractive and feminine. Bottled on '25/03/2010' and best before '25/03/2015'.

I am using a belled glass with a narrow column at the bottom for the tasting. It is my most commonly used glass and will provide a good baseline comparison.

As I pop the cap in my customary way the sound is crisp and loud. The beer is a light golden color with a yellowish off-white head that is very tall and fluffy. Head sticks around for awhile.

Smells are tart and lactic and incredibly floral. My right nasal passage is somewhat clogged so I am missing some of the complexity, and that is sad.

Flavors are quite complex and I am going to sit and enjoy them a bit and then, maybe, get back to the writing... Spice flavors and a uncanny balance mark this beer. It really outshines most others for depth and drinkability. I love the tiny bubbles and the fact the head is still somewhat present at the end of the glass.

Super good beer and well worth the quest to acquire it.

Re-reviewed Nov 24, 2010

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Rochefort glass (at Falling Rock Taphouse, Denver)

Really pretty colour, a beautiful golden orange. Head is fluffy, red tinted and tan.

Smells are of the sea, floral, pickles and caramel.

Tastes remind me of wild beers. Tangy, spicy (purple?), bitter hops, and grapefruit. Mouthfeel is light-medium with great big carbonation and a nice dry finish.

Drinkability is great and I am pleased... More Beer like This!

This beer is pretty. Overall the beer is floral, enticing and intoxicating. I am enamored. Happy Valentines day and...
Slainte!

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Photo of VWBuggirl
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my Grimbergen chalice.

This is a great hazy light amber color that looks delicious. It has a bit of a bready-vanilla smell that has a certain sweetness to it.

This starts mildly sweet, then you get a punch of hoppiness that I wasn't expecting, and then sweet again. I love the amount of carbonation too. Very drinkable and enjoyable!

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Photo of HopEnforcer
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Darker golden color and slightly hazy in appearance. About two inches of white head that quickly dissipated, leaving some moderate lacing.

S: Lemon and Brett aroma.

T: Lemony with earthy bitterness that lingers. A slight spiciness came through as it warmed up.

M: Very dry mouthfeel with a fairly high level of carbonation.

D: Pretty good drinkability, although I really wasn't craving a second one.

Note: the bottle I drank was dated January, 2006 (4 years old).

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Photo of BigMike
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For most of my first 199 reviews, i've stayed within my comfort zone. That said comfort zone has been mostly Ipa's, DIPA's, and stouts. I'm going to make a concerned effort to try to branch out for my next 200. I figured i'd make my 200th a style of beer of never really tried. That is a beer brewed with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. Also known as Brett. This is a Trappist beer called Orvel. So here's to another 200 beer reviews!

Cheers!

Poured from a bottle that has a bottled on date of 5/08/09.

Poured into a Golden Monkey Tulip glass.

Watch on the pour because this thing just explodes in the glass. I have about 4 fingers of head to about 2 fingers of beer. The beer is a hazy orange color with some yellow highlights. THe head is almost pure white and its larger bubbles that are disappearing quickly. It sticks to the side of the glass like crazy. The effervescence of this thing is crazy! Bubbles racing to the top of the glass.

This thing smells awesome! Some orange peel scented yeastiness with some clove and orange blossom honey flavor. A small touch of some mustiness.

Flavor is almost identical to the nose. Orange,Yeast, clove. Like i said with the nose, its a bit musty like. I'm guessing thats from the Brett.

Mouthfeel is light, and effervescent. Tons of bubbles tingling every part of my mouth.

This beer is super easy to drink. Most definitely my favorite Belgian, and Trappist beer to date. I could drink a couple of these! I highly recommend this beer to just about anyone!
The f

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Photo of Plonk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured in my Chimay chalice. Bottled date 4/22/2009.

A - Pours a nice light amber, significant chill haze, two finger rocky head that falls to 1/8 that stays to bottom of glass leaving a good amount of lacing.

S - Bretty barnyard and band aid dominates, slight hay and bit of citrus

T - Brettiness, slight malt sweetness, earth, spritz of lemon, L-O-N-G hop bitter complex finish that lasts for days.

M - Crisp and light, with a creamy carbonation.

D - Could easily drink several at a sitting.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,480 ratings