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The Orval is considered the queen of Trappists.
Both bitter and sour, it is suitable for aperitif and meal or after a long day of work.
When you serve Orval beer you notice a beautiful amber colour filling your beer glass. The beer has a generous white foam. On the nose, you’ll get notes of the fresh hop, Brett, orange, savoury and malty aromas. The beer aroma reveals a slight acidity from maturing in the cellar. The taste of Orval beer is unique. Bitterness is rather strong, and you’ll taste wild yeast. The ageing process has added a fruity note to the taste. It has a nice spark to it and a bitter finish. The special taste comes from the quality of the water, hops and yeast.
One of the best beers in the world
Orval beer is considered one of the best beers in the world for many reasons! The beer is very rare to start with. The strict traditional production methods set certain limitations, and thus, they cannot be mass-produced. Also, the demand for beer is higher than the production. And most importantly, it respects the Trappist tradition. Trappist beers are very rare, and only 12 monasteries in the world produce Trappist beers. It makes Orval a true gem, and the beer has become a reference for Trappist beers!
How Orval beer is made
Making Orval beer is not like making any other beer. The beer-making process is complex to guarantee quality.
The basic recipe and methods for brewing beer are starting with malting and then the actual brewing process. During the brewing process, the source of starch, often barley malt, is turned into simple sugars, which then are turned into alcohol. The resulting liquid is left to rest and then filtered.
For making Orval beer, the barley and hops need to be harvested first. Once the harvest is completed, the barley will be prepared by the malters. For Orval, pale malt and a small proportion of caramel malt are used. After the hops have been turned into pellets or extracts, the hops will be dried. When the malt has been cleaned, it is crushed by using the wet-milling method. During this process, water from the Mathilde fountain is added. The mash is pumped directly into the filtering tanks. The mixture is constantly stirred during mashing.
Sweet wort is obtained in just a few hours, and then it is brought to a boiling vessel where hops are added. When done, the boiling wort needs to be cooled down rapidly. The cooled wort goes to fermentation tanks where yeast is added. The fermentation lasts about four to five days. After the fermentation, the young beer is pumped into holding tanks for maturing for up to three weeks. Yeast is carefully added to the tanks. Orval beer referments to the bottle at 15 degrees celsius. Only two months after the beer has been brewed and checked several times for quality, the beer can reach the consumers.
How to serve Orval beer
Serving Orval beer is a celebration itself. When opening the bottle, apply some pressure to the cap, so it stays on the bottle. You’ll hear some pressure getting out. Once the bottle cap is removed, pour the beer slowly into a special Orval beer glass. Keep the beer glass tilted and the bottle horizontally. Slowly straighten the glass until only one cm of beer is left in the bottle. And now you are ready for a tasty drink!
The Orval beer glass is chalice-shaped. In case you do not have an Orval glass to enjoy your beer, use another chalice-shaped glass. A tulip-shaped glass will work as well, but still, the classiest way to drink Orval is from its proper glass.
The recommended serving temperature for Orval beer is the same as its storing temperature, between 10 to 15 degrees celsius. If it is served at colder temperatures, the beer colour is less bright.
How to store Orval beer
Orval beer is like good wine and can get better at ageing. The beer label has a creating date on it. The beer drinker can decide either to drink it right away or to keep it in a cellar. If you do not want to drink your Orval right away, store it away from the light between 10-15 degrees celsius. Thanks to the Brettanomyces yeast, the beer can be stored for several years in a cellar.
The taste will change a bit depending on the age of the beer. The young beer tastes more like a bouquet of fresh hops. It has a lighter palate with fruity notes. Older beer has a caramel touch and slight acidity added to its flavour.
Orval beer bottle shape
Even the shape of the beer bottle is special, a very round and curvy shape. It resembles a bowling keel. The special shape has the purpose to allow the bottle to resist the strong pressure the beer contains.
The story of the Orval beer logo
The logo of Orval beer is recognizable anywhere. It is an image of a trout holding a golden ring in its mouth. The legend has it that Mathilde, the countess of Tuscany, once lost her wedding ring, her only memory of her deceased husband, into a fountain in the valley. She immediately started to pray to God when a trout appeared with a golden ring in its mouth. Mathilde exclaimed that truly, this is a golden valley! To be thankful, she decided to build a monastery in the valley. The Orval beer’s logo carries out this legend.
Which foods go well next to Orval beer?
Orval beer goes well with strong cheeses, red or white meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes. You can even pair it with desserts to balance the bitterness.
In French, do you say “un” Orval or “une” Orval?
Well, that is a heated debate that beer drinkers like to discuss. We’ve written a full article on how to order Orval beer correctly.
Thirsty for an Orval beer? Buy Orval beer online and add it to the cart! You may also find Orval beer in one of our beer boxes or discover it with our beer subscription.