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

5,392 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: 5,392 |  Reviews: 2,347
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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Photo of Lldeegan
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured beautifully. Their was a giant rocky pure white head that emerged when poured into an oversized wine glass that made it look very appealing. The smell was nice, corriander, yeasty, reminded me immediately of Chimay White. Because of the fruity yeast notes. A bit more of a sour smell to it than the Chimay though, reminded me of the Cantillion Classic Gueuze I just tried. The taste was very interesting, at first I was very surprised at how high of a rating it had. The carbonation was too high for me and it attacked my taste buds to the point where it just was like seltzer water, once this subsided I did notice a very complex taste that I began to enjoy more as I drank and as the beer warmed. The smell is fantastic, but the carbontation (perhaps badly handled bottle) masks in the taste what the smell offeres initially, until it opens up after the bubbles dissipate. Sour apple, bubblegum, white grape, and a bitter bread towards the end.
The mouthfeel is what really ruined an otherwise great complex beer for me. I may be wrong, but the early sips are way too carbonated, as the beer settles, it becomes more enjoyable, but the first sip, which is always my favorite, challenged my taste buds.
I could keep drinking more than one of these, they have a good taste, as long as it settles before it hits my tongue. However, Does not compete with my favorite Trappist, Chimay White.

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Photo of Celt44
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a cloudy, hazy, medium amber. Seriously creamy, foamy, beautiful head - be careful and slow pouring this one. Large head lasts throughout...

Aroma - Strong bready malts - Spices are up front - coriander, ginger....

Taste - Coriander and spices up front. Strong malt and baked bread presence. Alcohol slightly detectable..

Mouthfeel - Dry with a bite....nice.

Overall an excellent Trappist. I prefer the Farmhouse Saison when going Belgian, but I'll do this again....

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

Picked up this bottle from OTM in OB. Poured into a Maredsous chalice. Massive, beautiful lacey head from the pour, hangs around forever and leaves a lovely lace on the edge of the glass. As soon as I popped the top of the bottle I was met with the amazing sweet, sour yeasty aroma with lots of esters, one of the most appetizing smelling beers I've tried. The taste is complex and interesting with a lot of flavors from the brettanomyces coming through - leather, horsey on top of the blondey belgiany base. Really an enjoyable beer, definitely going to try again. This bottle was about 9 months from the bottling date.

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

Having enjoyed most of the wild ales I have tried recently, I decided to try an authentic original.

Pours with a massive white head that stays around for a while with good carbonation. The beer itself is a cloudy orange color. Smell is subtle, yet distinctive; you get some sense for the funkiness right upfront, yet there is a lot going on.

Taste is tart and funky, but not at all overwheming. Nice dry finish with each sip. One can imagine sipping more than one after it is all gone.

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Photo of bulletrain76
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Re-rerate: Four and a half month old bottle. Stunning. The last few bottles have proven this to be a truly perfect beer. There is so much variety depending on age, but that makes me love it even more as it can be multiple beers for multiple moods while still being outstanding in every iteration. The hops and fruity esters are phenomenal in younger examples, with brett and dry elegance taking over as time progresses. This truly is a perfect five, and it is a tragedy that it's not appreciated enough to land in the top 100 when it makes the vast majority of the beers on the list look sloppy and poor.

Re-rate, 11/26/07. I've finally come around to re-rating this almost three months later, and Systemblaget still has bottles bottled on the same day, so I'm getting a sample with 9 months of age instead of 6. It may be that the beer has evolved considerably in those three months, or it may be that I have evolved as well since one of my first ratings, but this rating experience is very different from the original. The pour is a clear orange/amber with an absolutely massive lasting head. Bubbles stream from everywhere to sustain the mountainous foam for quite some time, until you wear it into a creamy layer that laces all the way to the bottom. Beautiful to say the least. The aroma is a little different than I remember: dryer and much more complex. Yeast, sour fruit, hops, bubble-gum ,and cloves hit you to start. Very spicy cloves. As the beer warms, more sugar comes out, with some caramel and a good helping of sweet cherries with a lingering acidity. The flavor is dryer than I recall; much dryer than the aroma would lead you to believe. Hop resin scrapes your tongue with a lasting bitter finish, and a slight citrus acidity rides over it all. The body is light and heavily but smoothly carbonated, with a long bitter and lean finish. the alcohol taste that was present before is completely absent now. I'm awe-struck at the complexity of this beer. I didn't know that you could smell so many amazing things in one glass. It's like a whole table of spiced christmas confections, and I'm loving it. It's leanness and dryness also make it supremely drinkable, which is more than I can say for any other Trappist ale that I've had.

(original rating) From a bottle in Lund, Sweden on 8-28-07. Pours a murky golden orange amber with a substatial head that stays for quite awhile in a tulip glass. The aroma is probably one of the best-sweet apricots linger with tangy lemon and spicy cinnamon. I was expecting a better flavor out of this, but something was lacking. There was a good mouthfeel with heavy carbonation, but an intrusiveness of alcohol lingered over it and ruined the flavor. The bitterness in the finish was definitely refreshing, but for a beer bottled at only 6.2% ABV, there shouldn't have been this prevalent of an alcohol taste. I'll definitely give it another try.

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Photo of Goldfish19
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ Purchased this bottle at Shoreline Beverage in Huntington, NY. Pours a hazy orange color with a huge frothy head. There is a ton of bubbles in this brew. Hints of fruits and spices graze the nose quite well. The taste is complex, and the finish is bitter. Orval is definitely a superior beer when compared to most, but I am sorry to say it is my least favorite of the Trappist offerings. ~

PS- it is worthy to note, this was bottled on 04/22/09, so I will let my other bottles age for while, then revisit this one at a later date.

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Photo of popery
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional, unique beer. The beer pours a beautiful shade of burnt orange-amber, medium, with a slight haze. The head is white and rocky and dissipates at a medium pace. The aroma is exquisite. The sour barnyard funk is just precisely right and blends wonderfully with the underlying Belgian ale notes. One of my favorite aspects of Orval is the perfect dryness. This nature even comes through in the aroma. There are fruit notes, apricots, grapes, lemons, figs, and earthy complexity. The flavor is just wonderful. I'm a bit of a sucker for a dry, delicious beer, and Orval pulls this off this combination better than nearly any other. The flavor is somewhere between a gueuze and a Belgian ale. Orval makes me imagine how good Belgian-style ales must have tasted before modernity imposed sanitary conditions and end of the sour beer as the norm. Orval is a world classic and everyone should try it. I will be buying some bottles for the cellar soon and look forward to witnessing this beer's maturation.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Super thick creamy head. Slow dissipation. Body is a hazy dark amber, with swirls of dark residue.

S - Super complex smell of malt, hops, banana, clove, maybe cider, and other spicey phenols.

T - Great balanced taste. Very mild sweetness at first, then progesses towards a nice warming of spices complimenting hop finish. Very toasty biscuit flavor from the malts. Almost a pear-like fruitiness and peppery spice.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not much warming at all, and high carbonation.

D - The palate is so complex I can't even begin to describe it. Taste after taste will leave you discovering more.

Perhaps the best example of a Belgian PA.

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Photo of wahhmaster
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Wow!! Cloudy light brown color (kind of honey-hued). Thick, glorious head that dissipates slowly coating the glass in lacing.

Smell: Definitely fruity. Apples come through the strongest. A little grape and grapefruit also comes through.

Taste: Very light in taste. The alcohol comes through a little bit in this one. The fruity notes from the smell come out in the taste as well. It has an almost wine-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as can be.

Drinkability: A great beer. Get whenever you can. One of the most complex and tasty beers I've had.

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Photo of jbone78
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my final Trappist! After this one, I have tasted all of the Trappist Breweries. Not all of their beers, just their breweries. I am excited.

A- Poured slightly hazy into my Chimay gobblet. large head that I scraped with a butter knife like a traditional Belgian person would to open the nose.
S- If you read through my reviews, I am not a big smeller. I get more aroma from the actual drink than I do sticking my nose in there.
T- Great carbonated lemon zesty flavor that is great. Did I mention it was great? Very well balanced and not at all too sweet like any of the other Trappist.
M- Smooth, slight yeast aftertaste that goes with the territory.
D- One of the best Trappist I have had. And different because not all Trappist breweries make a Belgian Pale.


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Photo of Riccymon
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 05/06/08

Pours from the bottle a purple-orange color with mountains of pillowy white head; just beautiful looking. Under all that head, smell is pungeant with notes of apple, bruised pear, dried leaves, and grass.

Taste is cider-like with notes of apple, vinegar, mint, and a grassy, grapefruit-juice bitterness in the finish. I'm impressed with the slightly wild but very refined flavors. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated and appropriately thin without being watery. Just a tremendous beer, well worth the price.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,392 ratings.
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