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Orval , just the name alone will get many beer aficionado salivating.
The monastery was born of an act of gratitude: Mathilda was a widow and her wedding ring had accidentally fallen into the fountain. She prayed to the Lord and at once a trout rose to the surface with the precious ring in its mouth. Mathilda exclaimed : 'Truly this place is a Val d'Or'! " In gratitude, she decided to establish a monastery on the site.
Orval the beer
The Orval Brewery is owned and run by Cistercian monks in Orval, Belgium. Bordering Luxembourg, France and Belgium, the Brewery is located within the Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Orval. A young beer is characterised by a bouquet of fresh hops, with a fruity note and pronounced bitterness, light on the palate and a less firm collar than a beer of six months. The latter will feature a bouquet consisting of a blend of fragrances of yeast and old-fashioned hop. The bitterness is more diffuse and the taste has moved to a slight touch of acidity accompanying yeast and caramel flavours.
The Orval Trappist monastery is unique in crafting the only Trappist beer with Brettanomyces. Unlike many wild yeast brewers (see Lambic and Gueuze) who use spontaneous fermentation to get the “Brett” characteristic, the Orval brewers inoculate their beer with Brett at bottling. Essentially, this means that Orval is bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces (aka goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle with wild yeast). Many beers change with age, but none change quite like Orval. Young Orvals are characterized by a fresh hop bouquet, fruity esters and a pronounced bitterness. After 9 months, Orval undergoes a complete change. The once fresh hop bouquet turns into an old-fashioned hop aroma and the pronounced bitterness fades as caramel malt flavours become more prominent. Although “Brett” may start to show signs prior to the 9 month landmark, it really starts to shine through 9 months after bottling. Served without sediment, a beer of six months or more, has a particularly bright appearance.
Orval is best served, when young at a temperature below 7°C to 8°C, but when older, up 11-13°C for best flavour profile.
How does Orval take it's name?
Orval, from the The name ORVAL means Golden Valley. The abbey was founded in 1070 when Countess Mathilda of Tuscany lost a gold ring in the local lake. She pledged that if it were returned she would thank God by building an abbey. A trout returned the ring! Hence the beer label. Orval Trappist Ale is an intensely bitter orangey coloured ale with three fermentations. Totally refreshing and complex. Tasting: Initial strong burst of hops in the nose, with an aniseed-like spiciness. Firm malt behind. Tart pineapple and tangerine fruitiness. The palate is malty smooth and laced with tart orange and other citrus fruits. Bitter and hoppy finish, with a woody essence and a suggestion of sourness. Medium bodied and unique, hoppy dry-orange, Amber Trappist.
The origins of this very distinctive beer can probably be attributed jointly to Mr. Pappenheimer and to the Belgians, Honoré Van Zande and John Vanhuele who were working in the brewery at the same period. They were daring : the combination of production methods which they thought up is nowhere else to be found. Several of these methods, such as the infusion brewing and the "dry-hopping" are English: probably we owe them to John Vanhuele, who brought them from England, where he had lived for many years. This results in a beer whose characteristic aroma and taste owe more to the hops and to the yeasts than to the malts. In the same way as the secret of brewing, the specific beer-glass, the bottle and the label, which we still know today, are witnesses to the origins in the early '30's.
Name Orval, Trappist beer, 6.2%, 33cl, Bottle ABV % 6.2 Brewery Abbaye d'Orval Colour / Style Trappist Beer Country Belgium Serving Temperature 6-8'c Tasting Notes Orval is a medium bodied and unique, hoppy dry-orange, amber Trappist. Best served in a branded chalice glass, with or without the sediment. Good with soup and cheese.
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