Friday, August 3, 2018

Tasting Notes - Inspired Beer - Orval

This took a little longer than expected but I've finally got the tasting notes of the Orval inspired beer below.  I'm working on the next installment of this little series so keep an eye out!

Brew day notes here!

ABV: 6.96%
SG:  1.057 or 14.04°P
FG:  1.004 or 1.03°P
Apparent Attenuation:  93%

Appearance:  Definitely a little lighter than Orval.  Although the bottle of Orval I have to compare it to is a few years old.  So maybe this will darken a bit over time.  Rich gold in color with hints of orange.  Crystal clear with a white head that dissipated really quickly.  It's not highly carbonated and I've seen lots of brett beers not have the best head retention as well as some Trappist beers that have sub par head retention.  It's beautiful in the setting sun on this warm day. 

Aroma:  Right in the beginning you get a blast of fruity notes.  Some indistinct but also some stone fruit notes.  Bit of dried apricot and maybe a light note of peach and some very faint cherry.  Just a touch of malt character comes through with a finish of the hops.  Bit of pepper, small amounts of citrus more like lemon than orange and just a very faint note of funky woodsy notes.  Not overly funky and definitely more fruity than Orval.  I really enjoy the aroma.  

Flavor:  Follows the nose with the stone fruit.  It seems to be a little less complex on the flavor when compared to the nose.  There is a nice bitter, dry finish and at the end of it all you get a bit of the hops with a very light malt sweetness.  It's extremely refreshing.  Maybe a touch of pear or apple in there when you dig.  Some citrus and light, light funk as it finishes.

Mouthfeel:  Medium to Medium light.  Could definitely be better with more carbonation.  I'm not sure why this one didn't carbonate as high as I intended but I'll fix that when I brew it again. 

Really is a beautiful beer.

Overall:  I am glad I called this an "Inspired Beer" instead of a clone recipe.  The two beers do differ pretty greatly.  The blend from Wyeast seems to be a little different than what Orval uses at least as far as the brettanomyces goes.  Orval has light fruity notes but a lot more of what I would call earthy and peppery tones from their strain.  The brett strain in this Wyeast Trappist blend has a ton of fruity notes.  Very tasty but just different.  Next time I'll probably do my own blend of yeasts to replicate this and use the brett in either secondary or bottling only.

Another change I would make would be the dry hopping rates.  I would definitely increase it.  I dry hopped this beer with 2oz of 7.2AA Aramis hops and I would increase that by at least an ounce and maybe even double it in my 6.5 gallon batch to get more character.  I really enjoy the Aramis hop in this style of beer though so I'm glad I have more of it to use.  I believe Orval uses a more woody/earthy hop in there beers (maybe EKG or something like that) so I may try a blend of hops in the dry hop next time.

I'll also use more of the golden candi sugar in the next batch and maybe a higher percentage of the pale malt vs Pilsner.  I definitely like the base and thing it could be bang on with a few tweaks.  Let me know if you brew something like this or have your own inspired recipe!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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  1. Thanks for sharing your notes. Would you use Marris Otter again, or go with Belgian pale?

    1. Maris Otter is what I use because I keep a sack of it and a sack of Pilsner on hand at all times. I actually really like it in Belgian style beers for whta flavor it adds so I would use it again. But I would like to try it with Belgian Pale. The pale ale will have a little less malt flavor and make a more crisp beer more than likely.

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