Brewed by Brasserie d'Orval (Florenville - Villers-d.-Orval, Belgium)
Located within the confines of the Abbey, the Orval Brewery was created in 1931 to finance the enormous reconstruction works of Orval. It has hired lay workers from the outset, including the master brewer, Pappenheimer, who invented the recipe.
The brewer’s commercial policy is adapted to the values of the monastic community. Income from Royalties generated from the brand name go to social welfare works and the maintenance of the buildings.
THE UNIQUE TASTE OF ORVAL BEER
The distinctive fruity and bitter taste of Orval beer means it has become a genuine reference in the exclusive world of authentic Trappist beers.
Orval beer is a high fermentation beer. The ageing process adds a fruity note, which strikes a subtle balance between the beer’s full-bodied yet complex flavour and bitterness.
The beer was first brewed in 1931 and owes its unparalleled taste to the quality of the water, the hops and the yeast used. The brewery has selected very aromatic and unique hop varieties, which hark back to the first brewmaster of Orval, who hailed from Bavaria. The beer’s aromas are very pronounced while maintaining the right level of bitterness thanks to the English method of dry hopping.
The various stages of fermentation – combined fermentation with the original yeast and with wild yeast, followed by fermentation in the bottle – mean the beer must age for some time and requires numerous quality controls.
A GENUINE TRAPPIST BEER
The Orval Brewery’s activities are governed by the wishes of the monastic community. Part of the revenue generated by the sale of its products goes to charity.
This ethical dimension is one of the three criteria of the “Authentic Trappist Product” designation. To qualify for this designation, a product must be manufactured in a Trappist abbey, the monastic community must be directly involved in the management of the activities and the revenue must be essentially used for charity.
CONTROLLED PRODUCTION AND GROWTH
Orval beer is increasingly becoming a much sought after product. At the same time, the Orval Brewery wishes to preserve its know-how, while remaining true to its values. Its production is entirely dedicated to delivering quality and has adhered to the same manufacturing methods for over eighty years.
Like every Trappist beer with the “Authentic Trappist Product” product label, Orval beer must observe strict production methods. The beer will always be locally brewed in the abbey near the Mathilde source.
The various production stages are a guarantee of quality while respecting the original production methods. This approach, which focuses on controlled and constant growth, means there are also limits.
While the Orval Brewery believes in a moderate production, it is anything but negligible. The brewery produces 22 million bottles every year. More than 85% of its production is sold on the Belgian market.
Within the historic perimeter, the monastic community and its brewmasters have continually developed the brewing activities. The brewery permanently and continually invests in its production equipment in order to ensure better control of the brewing process and regular production. The aim is to satisfy demand and honour the loyalty of Orval enthusiasts.
The gustative sensations will gain in nuance depending on the age of the beer. 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. Served without its sediments, a beer of six months or more, has a particularly bright appearance. It will be less so, if it is served at a temperature below 7°C to 8°C (44° - 45°F).
The brewery indicates the bottling and best-by dates directly on the label. Every consumer can thus easily know the age of an Orval beer, and whether it should be consumed rapidly or less so, depending on whether one likes this beer young, or after a few months or years in the cellar.