Orval Dregs

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moreb33rplz

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I was going to brew a Saison and split it into two fermenters, one with just 3711, the other with 3711 + Orval dregs. However, I only have one bottle of Orval and it's 28 months old. I was going to try and step it up, once in the bottle, then into a 1L starter over a couple weeks then use that with the 3711.

Will I get funky goodness? Is the bottle too old to try and use?
 

sweetcell

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if you can be very sanitary about it, a starter is a good idea. make it small and weak - like 200 ml of 1.020 wort. it can take a while, 2 weeks or more, for things to get going - hence the importance of sanitation, since you don't want any other critters setting up shop before the brett wakes up.

if you don't want to chance it, just pitch the dregs (and some of the beer!) and wait. if there is anything alive in there, it will find a way... could just take a while.
 

Orval

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The yeast you find in an Orval bottle (lees or dregs) is different from the yeast they use for the fermentation process...
 
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moreb33rplz

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The yeast you find in an Orval bottle (lees or dregs) is different from the yeast they use for the fermentation process...
Really? Source?

In this case I added the dregs plus about a dozen strains of Brett, so should still be funky, but definitely thought I'd read of folks using Orval dregs on their own
 
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moreb33rplz

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That article, when google fu translated, seems to suggest the brett is in the bottle?

"But beware, the use of Brettanomyces by brewers is not recent. Indeed, the famous abbey of Orval used since the beginning of the XX th century in its fermentation in the bottle"
 

Orval

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Exactly, this is the yeast which generates the carbonation fermentation, sorry about my English, lack of time now to think about it. This is similar to the yeast that produces the sour Lambic in the Brussels area.
 

sweetcell

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The yeast you find in an Orval bottle (lees or dregs) is different from the yeast they use for the fermentation process...
to be clear: what this person is contending is that Orval uses a bottling strain. so they use sacch strain A to ferment the beer, then add sacch strain B at bottling (possibly after filtering out the A strain) along with the brett. i don't know if this is true, however i wanted to make the point that Orval does indeed contain brett.

luckily several yeast labs sell a version of the primary ("A") strain.
 

Orval

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to be clear: what this person is contending is that Orval uses a bottling strain. so they use sacch strain A to ferment the beer, then add sacch strain B at bottling (possibly after filtering out the A strain) along with the brett. i don't know if this is true, however i wanted to make the point that Orval does indeed contain brett.

luckily several yeast labs sell a version of the primary ("A") strain.
If you don't mind, I've been there, and gave a reference to a website saying the same, so if you don't know if this is true why are you saying :"I'm contending..." just keep saying that you don't know...
 

MrFancyPlants

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You don’t need to do a starter on orval dregs. They may add a champagne yeast at bottling, but Brett don’t care. Pour your barnyard (or is it abbey mattress) into a glass, leaving just a little behind in the bottle. Give it a vigorous shaking swirl, and dump it in the fermenter. It may take a while to come to the party, but it will get there.
 

catalanotte

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Your idea has the potential to make great beer. I did this last summer, almost exactly as you are considering and loved the results. Only difference is I used Fermentis BE-134 for the primary yeast. I used dregs from 2 bottles of Orval as a direct pitch at the end of primary and then packaged about 1-2 weeks later. I did add a bottling yeast (Fermentis F-2) and priming sugar to keg condition.

My understanding is Orval referents in the bottle with a Brett strain. That was what I was hoping to get out of the bottle dregs. 2 bottles worth provided a subtle but noticeable funk. I would have like more and may pitch a larger Brett culture next time.

Be careful if you bottle, the Brett and some Saison yeasts (diastaticus) both have the ability to ferment down to below a FG 1.000 and can cause bottle bombs.
 

Orval

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Be careful if you bottle, the Brett and some Saison yeasts (diastaticus) both have the ability to ferment down to below a FG 1.000 and can cause bottle bombs.
That's exactly the reason why Gueuze is bottled in Champagne bottles! The Lambic wild yeast is a Brettanomyces.
 

sweetcell

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That's exactly the reason why Gueuze is bottled in Champagne bottles! The Lambic wild yeast is a Brettanomyces.
i don't think over-carbonation/bottle-bombs are a concern for gueuze producers and blenders. gueuze is presented in champagne bottles to contain its intentional high carbonation (over 3 volumes). normal beer bottles can explode at that pressure, so they need to use something thicker.

apologies if this sounds overbearing, but there are in fact several strains of brett in lambic (in addition to wild sacch).
 

Orval

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" i don't think over-carbonation/bottle-bombs are a concern for gueuze producers and blenders. " Of course not because they use Champagne bottles + iron muselets on purpose, or is my English so poor that you do not understand what I'm writing? Please be aware that my first job in 1976 related to the beverage industry and those lambic brewers and gueuze blenders were my customers! Some names I have in mind, De Keersmaekers, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, Gebroeders De Vits, Girardin, Cantillon, Frank Boon in Lembeek (I saw him, young brewer engineer, taking over an old gueuze brewery -Lemmens?-, he is one of the pioneers of the restart of craft beers in Belgium, e.g. Hoegaarden was closed at that time!) and so on...Of course it was intentional, who says the opposite?
 
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duncan_disorderly

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I've made two beers with Orval dregs and it definitely contains Brett. My first beer was pretty indistinguishable from Orval, which was pleasing. I just tipped the dregs into secondary. No starter required, the Brett just nibbles away at whatever is left after primary fermentation. I did a 2 week primary with an English ale yeast and a one month secondary with Brett and dry hopped near the end then bottled it.
 

Orval

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apologies if this sounds overbearing, but there are in fact several strains of brett in lambic (in addition to wild sacch).
I did not react on that misinformation, the yeast strain in Lambic is definitely the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and nothing else. It's to be found in a specific area close to Brussels (Pajottenland-Senne river). Due to the fact it's an open air spontaneous fermentation, you may find some other yeast strain if it can survive. I remember the engineer brewer at Saint Louis brewery (Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebroeck-Izegem/West-Flanders) trying desperately to get that spontaneous fermentation by buying spent grains from lambic breweries in the Senne river area (late seventies!). Nowadays one can buy that yeast strain WYEAST 5112.
 

Orval

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I have a question about the word "dregs". In fact, yeast at the bottom of a bottle of wine is called lees, close to the French "lies" (pronounciation=lee, without "s" sound ), like in "Muscadet tiré sur lies". Muscadet bottled on lees...
Spent grains in a brewery are called drêches in French, which sounds close to dregs and is also a plural...
Taking this into account, should we say Orval lees instead of Orval dregs?
 

duncan_disorderly

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I have a question about the word "dregs". In fact, yeast at the bottom of a bottle of wine is called lees, close to the French "lies" (pronounciation=lee, without "s" sound ), like in "Muscadet tiré sur lies". Muscadet bottled on lees...
Spent grains in a brewery are called drêches in French, which sounds close to dregs and is also a plural...
Taking this into account, should we say Orval lees instead of Orval dregs?
I don't think anyone is really that bothered tbh. Maybe split the difference and call them drees, or legs. It's just words, as long as we understand what is being said, the rest is just pontification, methinks.
 
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moreb33rplz

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This thread claims that they bottle with the same yeasts they ferment with. I also read that they do a primary ferment with sacc, then get the brett character by (surprise) adding brett at bottling.

All that to say, pretty sure it's possible to get some funky orvally goodness from using the dregs. Unfortunately I won't be able to tell with my batch because I also added a culture containing a dozen+ other brett strains at the same time as the dregs.
 

mashpaddled

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I did not react on that misinformation, the yeast strain in Lambic is definitely the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and nothing else. It's to be found in a specific area close to Brussels (Pajottenland-Senne river). Due to the fact it's an open air spontaneous fermentation, you may find some other yeast strain if it can survive. I remember the engineer brewer at Saint Louis brewery (Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebroeck-Izegem/West-Flanders) trying desperately to get that spontaneous fermentation by buying spent grains from lambic breweries in the Senne river area (late seventies!). Nowadays one can buy that yeast strain WYEAST 5112.
This is incorrect. While there is generally multiple brett strains in lambic there are a lot of other yeast (and bacteria) present in those beers. There is more than one brett variant found in lambic. Brett is also a common brewery (and food production facility) contaminant all over the world.
 

duncan_disorderly

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this is from the Orval website...

"At the end of the (primary) fermentation (the main fermentation lasts 4 to 5 days.), the young beer, still cloudy, is pumped into the holding tanks, where it matures, fines up, and takes on carbonic gas. The holding period lasts two to three weeks at a temperature of 15°C. It is in these same tanks that the yeasts, which have been very carefully kept in the Brewery laboratory, are added. As they develop in the later stages, they confer on the Orval beer its distinctive, slightly acidulous and so special character. A secondary fermentation in the holding tank gives the beer its incomparable taste, all the more so as fresh hops are added to heighten the bouquet."

"The most reputed varieties are the Bavarian Hallertau, the Slovenian Styrian Golding and the Alsacian Strisselspalt. These hops are used to flavour Orval beer. Before bottling, the beer is centrifuged to remove dead yeasts and hop particles in suspension."

"During this operation, liquid sugar and fresh yeasts are added so as to initiate the refermentation process in the bottle."

"For about 3 to 5 weeks, Orval beer re-ferments in the bottle in storage halls climatised at 15°C (56°F)."
 

sweetcell

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This is incorrect. While there is generally multiple brett strains in lambic there are a lot of other yeast (and bacteria) present in those beers. There is more than one brett variant found in lambic.
correct. there are numerous isolates available from lambic, each a different strain with different characteristics. the majority are brett brux, but other species appear as well (mostly anomolus).

an interesting read: The Microbial Diversity of Traditional Spontaneously Fermented Lambic Beer
 

sweetcell

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" i don't think over-carbonation/bottle-bombs are a concern for gueuze producers and blenders. " Of course not because they use Champagne bottles + iron muselets on purpose, or is my English so poor that you do not understand what I'm writing?
in your reply i replied to, catalanotte wrote "Brett and some Saison yeasts (diastaticus) both have the ability to ferment down to below a FG 1.000 and can cause bottle bombs", and you replied "That's exactly the reason why Gueuze is bottled in Champagne bottles!" - so you made a clear connection between unpredictable over-attenuation and thick glass.

but there is no unpredictable over-attenuation in lambic. lambic producers are in control of their carbonation process. i have never experienced, nor have i ever even heard of, a bottle of lambic being over-carbonated (let alone turning into a bottle bomb).

ergo, the thick glass bottles are not a safeguard against over-attenuation by brett or diastaticus. rather, they are used to contain the desired, controlled levels of carbonation achieved on purpose by the producer.

(en passant, je parle français. peut-être serait-il mieux de s'exprimer dans la langue de Molière, question de s'assurer qu'on se comprend? quoiqu'il parait que ton anglais est aussi bon que mon français, sinon meilleur...)
 

Orval

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in your reply i replied to, catalanotte wrote "Brett and some Saison yeasts (diastaticus) both have the ability to ferment down to below a FG 1.000 and can cause bottle bombs", and you replied "That's exactly the reason why Gueuze is bottled in Champagne bottles!" - so you made a clear connection between unpredictable over-attenuation and thick glass.
I do not mind... where did I write unpredictable over-attenuation
but there is no unpredictable over-attenuation in lambic. lambic producers are in control of their carbonation process. i have never experienced, nor have i ever even heard of, a bottle of lambic being over-carbonated (let alone turning into a bottle bomb).

ergo, the thick glass bottles are not a safeguard against over-attenuation by brett or diastaticus. rather, they are used to contain the desired, controlled levels of carbonation achieved on purpose by the producer.
Those people do not make any kind over measurements of whatsoever, they follow a tradition.
Over-attenuation by saccharomyces cerevisae var diastaticus will not occur in Lambic, Saccharomyces will not survive in a one year Lambic, Brettanomyces will.
I spent my childhood in that area, never heard about bottle bomb! Later on. I worked for a company dealing in that field and most of those guys were my customers!
(en passant, je parle français. peut-être serait-il mieux de s'exprimer dans la langue de Molière, question de s'assurer qu'on se comprend? quoiqu'il parait que ton anglais est aussi bon que mon français, sinon meilleur...)
je ne sais pas, certains répondent à côté car ils répondent à tout type de message par principe, pour avoir le dernier mot, peu d'intérêt.
 

Brewbuzzard

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I have a question about the word "dregs". In fact, yeast at the bottom of a bottle of wine is called lees, close to the French "lies" (pronounciation=lee, without "s" sound ), like in "Muscadet tiré sur lies". Muscadet bottled on lees...
Spent grains in a brewery are called drêches in French, which sounds close to dregs and is also a plural...
Taking this into account, should we say Orval lees instead of Orval dregs?
Those French have a different word for everything.
 

Kee

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So I've brewed maybe a dozen batches using Orval dregs in the bottling bucket (learned from Brew Like a Monk). Every batch except one had distinct brett characteristics after only a few weeks. (I can only speculate what happened to the one batch).

Four weeks ago I pitched dregs from one bottle into a 3 gallon keg (that's all I had at the time). I have three more bottles of Oval in the frig and my current batch, slightly over 3 gallons, will get dregs from two bottles.

There's definitely live brett in Orval, unless they have recently changed their process.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

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There's definitely live brett in Orval, unless they have recently changed their process.
I can definitely confirm this too. I used Orval dregs two times during the last one and a half year, and both times it worked like a charm. Great brett character. I waited 3-4 months before bottling and did not sample inbetween, but from the smell of the airlock I could gather that there was already brett funk going on within only a few weeks from pitching it, just as you related.

The only thing that surprised me is that I did not get the expected low to very-low FG.
By reading posts on forums I gathered that brett can easily take FG down to 1.000 or even below.
In my case, the brett took the first batch from 1.010 to only 1.007 (OG was 1.057). I still have some bottles left and we are now past one year from bottling date, and all this time they did not show any signs of overcarbonation. So I guess the FG must have stayed pretty much there. By the way the beer is still fantastic and IMO it is only getting better...

The second batch surprised me even more. The sacch fermentation also finished at 1.010 (OG 1.053), and the FG did not decrease noticeably from there, even after nearly 4 months of brett secondary. Brett character developed all the same, though. So I decided to bottle it and we'll see how it develops. So far it has been almost two months in the bottle and no overcarbonation in sight, but it is surely a bit early to tell.
 

goodolarchie

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My most recent foray with Orval dregs was at the beginning of 2020, with a somewhat lackluster Belgian Golden Strong I brewed and was preparing to bottle, when I thought I would try bottling half the batch with sugar (carb drops), and dose the rest with Orval dregs without adding sugar, relying only on the further attenuation of Orval's brett / sacch.

The Blonde started just a squeak below 1.007, after one year the Orval-spiked bottles have settled at 1.003. There's no question as to which are the better beers. I get the classic musty, leathery funk and there are still some pear esters from the Duvel/McEwans primary that the blonde underwent. It is a perfect champagne-like pale ale that had a very similar hop bill as Orval, so it comes across almost like an Imperial version (at 8.3%)

In my case, the brett took the first batch from 1.010 to only 1.007 (OG was 1.057). I still have some bottles left and we are now past one year from bottling date, and all this time they did not show any signs of overcarbonation. So I guess the FG must have stayed pretty much there. By the way the beer is still fantastic and IMO it is only getting better...
So I too was surprised that I only achieved ~2.0 volumes of co2 by way of refermentation, because I was prepared for the beer to slowly reach 1.000, netting a perfect 3.5 volumes co2. I will continue to monitor these bottles (they are corked and caged), but in 10 months they have not budged from 1.003 at 60F in my cellar.
 

Birrofilo

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I did not react on that misinformation, the yeast strain in Lambic is definitely the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and nothing else.
Truth be told, Brettanomyces bruxellensis is the "species". A strain is a sub-species. There are 4000 known domesticated strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and 2000 known wild strains of Saccharomices cerevisiae, but all 6000 strains belong to the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

I would find unlikely that all Lambic yeasts are the same strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis, also considering that there is a long tradition of use which certainly created the occasion of a differentiation.

Also without any polemic, the species is indicated by the Genus which is always capitalized, and the "specific epithet", the word which defines the species together with the Genus, which is always lowercase, as in the examples above. The Genus is sometimes abbreviated when it is obvious in the context (e.g. it is frequently written E. coli as an abbreviation for Escherichia coli). Good typographic "manners" would also like the species (the entire binomial name) to be written in Italic.

Just my two pedantic Eurocents, and please do tell me if there's anything wrong.
 
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Orval

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Truth be told, Brettanomyces bruxellensis is the "species". A strain is a sub-species. E. coli as an abbreviation for Escherichia coli). Good typographic "manners" would also like the species (the entire binomial name) to be written in Italic.
Just my two pedantic Eurocents, and please do tell me if there's anything wrong.
Sorry, my mistake, don't expect me to compete in that field, my mother tongue is French...
Can just confirm E.Coli is correct as an abbreviation for Escherichia coli...
Here a link to an Orval clone recipe: Recette : Clone de la célèbre bière trappiste belge de l'abbaye d'Orval
some of it translated here:
Type: All grain

Batch size: 19.99 l Brewer:

Volume at boiling point: 34.11l Assistant:

Boiling duration: 90 min Material: All Grain

End Boiling Volume: 22.75 l Efficiency: 72.00 %

Bottling Volume: 17.15 l Expected Efficiency: 79.8 %

Fermentation profile : Ale, Two Stage Note (from 0 to 50): 30.0

Tasting Note:

Ingrédients

Ingrédients Quantity Name Type N° % in Total

3.71 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 1 78.5 %

0.47 kg Caramunich Malt (110.3 EBC) Grain 2 10.0 %

0.09 kg Caravienne Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 3 1.9 %

0.45 kg Candi Sugar, Clear (1.0 EBC) Sugar 4 9.6 %

22.50 g Styrian Goldings [4.50 %] - Boiling 76.0 min Hop 5 12.8 IBUs

11.25 g Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.20 %] - Boiling 76.0 min Hop 6 4.5 IBUs

21.25 g S tyrian Goldings [4.50 %] - Boiling 45.0 min Hop 7 10.6 IBUs

10.00 g Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.20 %] - Boiling 45.0 min Hop 8 3.5 IBUs

1.0 pkg Abbey Ale (White Labs #WLP530) [35.49 ml] Yeast 9 -

1.0 pkg Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (White Labs #WLP650) [50.28 ml] [Added as secondary] Yeast 10 -

63.75 g Styrian Goldings [4.50 %] - dry hopping 7.0 Days Jours Hop 11 0.0 IBUs

Beer profile

Estimated Initial Density: 1.054 SG Measured Initial Density:

Estimated Final Density: 1.008 SG Measured Final Density:

Estimated ABV: 6.0 % Measured ABV:

Bitterness: 31.5 IBUs Calories: 427.1 kcal/l

Estimated Colour: 17.8 EBC

Batch profile

Nom: Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Medium Body Total Grain: 4.73 kg

Sparging Water Volume d'Eau de Rinçage: 27.24 l Grain Temperature : 22.2° C

Sparging Temperature: 75.6 C Tank Temperature: 22.2 °C

Adjusted T° Matériel: FALSE Wort pH : 5.20

Brewing Stages Stage Name Description Stage T° Stage Duration

Protein Rest Add 14.93 l Water at 53.0 C 50.0 C 30 mn

Saccharification Rise T° to 66.7 °C in 15 min 66.7 °C 45 mn

Mash Out Rise T° to 75.6 °C in 10 min 75.6 °C in 10 mn

Sparging Stages: Continuous Sparging with 27.24 l Water at 75.6 °C

Notes: Two step profile with a protein rest for mashes with unmodified grains or adjuncts. Temperature mash for use when mashing in a brew pot over a heat source such as the stove. Use heat to maintain desired temperature during the mash.

Carbonatation and Storage

Carbonatation: CO2 Volume: 2.3

Pressure/Weight: Carbonatation Method:

Bottling T° : 7.2 C Aging Duration: 30.00 days

Aging: Ale, Two Stages Storage Temperature: 18.3 °C
 

Birrofilo

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@Orval, thanks, finally a recipe as it should be given, with mash pH, sparging water, volume of carbonation, suggested aging time and temperature.

And thanks also for the link to that labrowar blogspot site, that's very interesting (I also read/speak French in fact).
 
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duncan_disorderly

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Some good info in this article from a visit in 1997...



Naturally, I wanted to inquire about specifics, but feared that the notoriously private Trappist organization would stifle candor. I was wrong. My guide was quite open, revealing the details of ingredients, yeasts, mashing schedules, and boiling times. As we strolled near the fermentors and mill, my guide explained how, eight times per week, Orval’s famous ale is derived from a blend of three pale, aromatic Belgian-grown malts (Aleksi, Prisma, and a caramel; the specific blends vary from year to year), which create Orval’s vibrant orange color. The grains are mashed in at 145 °M (63 °C) and then ramped up to 162 °F (72 °C) for 60 minutes to complete the infusion mash cycle. Twenty minutes into the boil, two varieties of hops (Styrian Golding and Hallertau-Hersbrucker) are worked in. The addition of 350 kg of Belgian white candi sugar per batch pushes the original gravity from 1.040 to 1.052 (10 to 12.8 ° P).

After whirlpooling, the wort undergoes three separate fermentations. The primary fermentation is conducted in open, stainless steel vessels with a standard pale ale Saccharomyces strain at 57–71 °F (14–22 °C). This first fermentation lasts five to six days.

The beer is then transferred to horizontal stainless steel conditioning cylinders where it is dry hopped with whole hops and fermented for three weeks with a second batch of yeast at around 59 °F (15 °C). The slurry used for this fermentation is made up of as many as 10 different strains, including Brettanomyces.

The beer is then bottled with a small amount of dissolved candi sugar and fresh primary yeast to ensure a third fermentation, similar to the methode champagnoise used to make Champagne. Bottles are stored for five to six weeks at 59 °F (15 °C). Orval is neither filtered nor pasteurized. The final beer is 6.2% (v/v), though it has been known to ferment to unexpected levels in the bottle.
 

Orval

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@Orval, thanks, finally a recipe as it should be given, with mash pH, sparging water, volume of carbonation, suggested aging time and temperature.

And thanks also for the link to that labrowar blogspot site, that's very interesting (I also read/speak French in fact).
It's my pleasure, in case I find other sites, I'll let it know.
 

monkeymath

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The only thing that surprised me is that I did not get the expected low to very-low FG.
By reading posts on forums I gathered that brett can easily take FG down to 1.000 or even below.
In my case, the brett took the first batch from 1.010 to only 1.007 (OG was 1.057). I still have some bottles left and we are now past one year from bottling date, and all this time they did not show any signs of overcarbonation. So I guess the FG must have stayed pretty much there. By the way the beer is still fantastic and IMO it is only getting better...
On the too few occasions where I used brett for a secondary fermentation, I had a very similar experience. The beer was transformed in the most wonderful way, but the gravity barely dropped.
It's not a problem per se, but I won't rely on any estimated final gravity. Just pitch brett, wait, then wait some more, then bottle with sugar as usual.
 
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