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Old 04-07-2011, 02:09 AM   #1
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Default AHS Orval Clone vs. Orval

Disclaimer: this review is not submitted to sh1t on AHS or Forrest; I was thrilled to find an Orval clone kit and this thread merely serves to give my opinion on it and feedback for potential customers and for AHS. This is one of the only recipes I've seen for this beer, so kudos for attempting it in the first place. Also, remember that a beer kit is only as good as the person brewing it, so it is certainly possible that I erred in some way while brewing this batch. For the record I followed the directions to the T, and there was no sign of infection. With that said there are variables such as water ph, fermentation temp, etc. So my attempt at this batch should by no means be taken as a perfect attempt at this recipe.

I'm also not a professional taster so my experience may differ from yours.

Another point: the Orval was from a bottle; the clone was from a keg.

In addition AHS prefers that their recipes not be published online so if you have any questions please direct them to AHS as I, in good faith, cannot divulge anything other than the fact the Brettanomyces is not present in the recipe. I have no interest in giving away someone else's hard work. Without further adieu, on to the review.

AHS Orval:

Appearance - Dark Amber with Orange highlights, fairly thick slightly off white head.
Smell - Citrus, light spice, grain, hint of clove, some salt cracker.
Taste - Spicy orange, light malt, some cereal, bit of lemon, wheat, bitterness at the end.
Mouthfeel - Medium, coats a bit.

Overall: a nice, smooth Belgian-style ale


Orval:

Appearance - Very light orange, thick white head.
Smell - Light yet complex, almost a muted flowery smell, earthy aroma with ever so slight fresh citrus, light sourness, bit of soft fruit, maybe passion fruit.
Taste - Sharp acidity, bitterness, light malt, mango (!), sour grape, light sourness which lingers a bit before fading. Surprisingly refreshing.
Mouthfeel - Carbonated, medium-light, nice slide of the tongue at the end.

Overall: Drinkable, smooth Belgian ale.


In comparison: The AHS clone does not use Brett, first of all, so there are a lot of nuances that can not be replicated without it. The color is darker, and the flavor is missing the sourness and has a wheat-ish taste. In addition, the citrus flavors in the clone are overstated owing to ingredients used. The biggest similarity was the bitterness at the end which is surprisingly similar, however the aroma, and most importantly the flavor, are very different. I think this is a nice attempt by AHS to field an Orval kit without subjecting people to Brettanomyces but for Orval perfectionists this will fall far short. A very nice Belgian-style ale and very tasty on its own.

In the picture Orval is on the right.





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Old 04-07-2011, 02:21 AM   #2
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No brett? Why do they bother to call it Orval w/o the funk?



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Old 04-07-2011, 02:28 AM   #3
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No brett? Why do they bother to call it Orval w/o the funk?
I really think they were trying to come up with a recipe that wouldn't involve a strain like Brett since from what I've heard Brett gets in the equipment and stays. Not sure though.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:30 AM   #4
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I actually just noticed on their website they have a different yeast now from when I bought it, so that will change the final product. Still not Brett though.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatyPortion View Post
I really think they were trying to come up with a recipe that wouldn't involve a strain like Brett since from what I've heard Brett gets in the equipment and stays. Not sure though.
It's easy enough to get some extra equipment that you would only use for your sour/wild yeast beers. I think that maybe they don't use Brett because they want you to get the final product quicker. For those brett flavors to develop, you need to be really patient.

I love Orval. And to me it is the Brett character that really differentiates it from the other Trappist ales, so it's kind of disappointing that someone would call something an Orval clone without including the Brett in the recipe.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:07 AM   #6
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It's easy enough to get some extra equipment that you would only use for your sour/wild yeast beers. I think that maybe they don't use Brett because they want you to get the final product quicker. For those brett flavors to develop, you need to be really patient.

I love Orval. And to me it is the Brett character that really differentiates it from the other Trappist ales, so it's kind of disappointing that someone would call something an Orval clone without including the Brett in the recipe.
I agree with what you're saying; I'm trying to give AHS the benefit of the doubt, meaning that they anticipated homebrewers experiencing contamination issues with equipment and decided to simplify the recipe. I get it; it's just not Orval.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:48 PM   #7
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Isn't Wyeast 3789 the Orval type yeast? It has Brett in it.

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Old 04-07-2011, 03:45 PM   #8
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Isn't Wyeast 3789 the Orval type yeast? It has Brett in it.
Wyeast's website says so, that it's a blend of Sac and Brett. It's not one of the options with the kit though. I just looked on AHS again and it looks like they're out of two of the recommended yeast strains for the kit but I used WY 1214 and the options are WL 550 and SafBrew T58. Right now they just offer the T58.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:00 PM   #9
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I'd try the Wyeast website's Orval clone here about three fourths the way down the page. I've been itching to do it for a while now.

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Old 04-07-2011, 05:02 PM   #10
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I think sometimes people take the word "clone" too literaly when it comes to AHS.

I did their AG version of Anderson Valley Winter Solstice this year, and about the only thing that was the same to the real thing was the color. The yeast and IBU's were WAY off. Still a nice brew, but not much in the way of a clone.



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