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Old 10-27-2011, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Orval Only Ages for 2 Months... how?

I was reading the brewing process section on Orval's website today, and noticed something that struck me as odd. According to their webpage, Orval is only about 2 months old when it's sent out.

This seems super short for a beer with Brett in it, even if Orval isn't super funky compared to others. Besides just the flavor coming out, I'd still think bottle bombs would become an issue... unless the Brett is removed prior to bottling. And if that's the case, how do so many people seem to get Brett out of bottle dregs?

Here's a link to the page: http://www.orval.be/an/products/brewery/brewery3.html

Can anyone make sense of this? What am I missing here?

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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Iirc they only add the brett at bottling. The brett is what does the carbonation, I'd think. You can actually get a lot of brett flavor in a short amount of time, but it will continue to change as it ages. I did an orval clone and at a month in the secondary it had a huge brett aroma and flavor.

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:41 AM   #3
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Orval probably goes into the bottle fairly dry and with little or no priming sugar. They likely calculate how much sugar is left in the beer when it goes in the bottle to produce appropriate carbonation.

Those Orval bottles are also thicker than normal bottles.

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Old 10-27-2011, 03:15 AM   #4
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The bottles are thicker than normal. I found a couple bottles of 2009 orval this summer at a random liquor store, and pouring them out was kind of ridiculous. It was like pouring out a slurpy. I ended up with 90% foam in both cases.

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:55 AM   #5
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It's brewed in a monestary for a reason man...

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #6
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The bottle and allow the brett to build the carbonation and add flavor. I have never had fresh orval, every bottle I ever drank was at least 1yr old. The bottles are considerably heavier than standard american long necks and can take the pressures. I have plans to do a orval inspired beer in the next few months bottled with orval dredges or a brett blend.

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #7
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In any case it takes several months in the bottle to get that distinct Brett character. In Brussels they serve both fresh and aged (6 months) bottles, and the Brett is barely noticeable in the fresh stuff.

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Old 10-30-2011, 06:09 PM   #8
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I am very interested in the Orval process as well. I recently had a couple bottles that were bottled less than a month ago and they were frickin' amazing. But as expected, the brett presence was pretty subdued.

In Brew Like a Monk, it says that Orval does a primary fermentation with no brett for about 4 days. Then they dry hop and add the brett in horizontal tanks. The books says that this secondary fermentation only lasts three weeks. Then they use a centrifuge to remove most of the yeast. At bottling, some fresh yeast (the same kind they used for the primary fermentation) and sugar are added. The book notes that there is still enough brett left over in the beer for it to work on the beer as it ages in the bottle.

So how does this translate to homebrewing? Would it work for a homebrewer to do a three week long secondary with brett and then bottle the beer? How crucial would it be to have the thicker glass bottles? I would love to try to make an Orval inspired beer at some point... but these questions weigh on my mind...

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Old 10-30-2011, 06:26 PM   #9
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You need to have thick bottles or bulk age the beer for much more than three weeks. The Orval inspired beer in the back of BLAM had a three point gravity drop in the bottle. I have three cases of champagne bottles saved up do to a beer like this in a couple weeks. You can definitely do the fermentation and short aging period with brett at home.

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Old 10-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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I'm going to use some Orval dregs for a beer soon, so I've been going around NYC trying to find some older bottles of the stuff. Figure I want to get as much Brett character as possible. But everywhere I've look so far, the bottles are all from the 10/02/2011 batch, sadly. Guess every shop in the city got theirs in the same shipment. At least Orval dates their beer, which is awesome. Every brewery should make it so easy to get this info.

I'll just have to pick up a few more to age for a while.

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