Orval

Posted on 09.01.08 9:20PM under Lambic, Tasting

For all the beer I’ve consumed, I’m still really new to the world of wild fermentation. I have had a few Lambics here and there, and I generally have a hard time finishing them, and when it comes down to it, I just love a massively hoppy IPA or an insanely black Stout any day.

But I keep trying, and I had read somewhere that Orval has “classic Brettanomyces character”. I remember trying one of these a year or so ago, and liking it. I figured it was time to give this one another shot. At over $4.00 a bottle, it’s something that you sometimes like to think twice about taking a chance on. But you only live once, and that $4.00 wasn’t going to spend itself.

So here I sit at the end of the glass. The gigantic rocky head still exists in a smaller form at the bottom of the glass. I have a subtle tang feeling and a distinct dry chalky feeling (almost dusty) in my mouth, as well as a smile on my face from the gentle aroma of subtle sourness that is associated with these bacterially infected beers.

I found the smell of the beer to be nicely brett-ish, but the flavor to be somewhat lacking in comparison to the smell. But it was still a tasty beer that had me wanting for another. Now this is progress. I wish the beer was more acidic. I think I might be ready to get another bottle of real Gueuze and go for the all-out lip-puckering acidic-sour experience again. Maybe some more Cuvée René? Or a Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic? Or even Rodenbach Grand Cru? And I just got my hands on a bottle of Ommegeddon that I am considering holding on to for a little while before I dig in. And I just might go pick up a bunch more Orval to let them sit around for another five years, until they reach their “best by” date of 2013!

Read Comments

  1. Posted by Austin Texas Realtor | Joe Cline on 09.05.08 2:56 AM

    Hey brother! Finally got over here again to check out your blog. I gotta tell you, I love the vivid way you describe the beers you drink. My typical review is one of three things: “sucked”, “loved it”, or “it’s ok”. Keep up the drinking and reviewing man!

    Joe

  2. Posted by Keith Brainard on 09.05.08 7:50 PM

    Thanks Joe! Glad to have you on board!

  3. Posted by Bailey on 09.08.08 12:26 PM

    I’ve never found Orval to taste or smell that exciting (heresy) but am more than willing to believe I’m, er, drinking it wrong or something…

    Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus is fascinating, although I’m not quite sure if I like it. Knock-your-socks-off sour.

    I’m from the west of England where we drink a lot of unsweetened “scrumpy” cider (6%+, made in barns, sold by the gallon) and it’s got a similar wild, sour, puckering taste to pure Gueuze, in my view.

  4. Posted by Keith Brainard on 09.09.08 7:50 PM

    “Scrumpy”… now there’s a British-sounding word! I made a hard cider last year from the leftover half a gallon of cider from the local apple orchard and a bit of dry brewer’s yeast. It still sits in a glass jug fermenting, or whatever it’s doing after a year. I bet it will be pretty scrumpy. I should bottle that up soon.

    Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus sounds like a good idea, if only for the label art. I’m into fascinating.