Author Topic: Orval - disappointed  (Read 4115 times)

Offline jivetyrant

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Orval - disappointed
« on: April 06, 2011, 05:06:17 PM »
After hearing many of my brewing and beer loving friends sing the praises of Orval I tracked a bottle of it down.  I cracked it a few minutes ago and must say, I was not only underwhelmed but I was genuinely disappointed by it.  I found it to be very dry (not a bad thing) and quite crisp (also not a bad thing) but it had a really funky aftertaste.  I would call it acidic, appley and almost solvent-like.  I tried it several times and came up with the same taste time after time.  I cleansed my palette, gave it a rest and tried again a few minutes later.  Same thing.  If not for the aftertaste I feel like I would really enjoy it.

Was it just a funky bottle?  Should I give it another try?  Or is it really meant to taste this way?  From how much other folks were talking it up I feel like I'm a bad beer lover for not liking it. :(

Offline narvin

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 05:10:47 PM »
After hearing many of my brewing and beer loving friends sing the praises of Orval I tracked a bottle of it down.  I cracked it a few minutes ago and must say, I was not only underwhelmed but I was genuinely disappointed by it.  I found it to be very dry (not a bad thing) and quite crisp (also not a bad thing) but it had a really funky aftertaste.  I would call it acidic, appley and almost solvent-like.  I tried it several times and came up with the same taste time after time.  I cleansed my palette, gave it a rest and tried again a few minutes later.  Same thing.  If not for the aftertaste I feel like I would really enjoy it.

Was it just a funky bottle?  Should I give it another try?  Or is it really meant to taste this way?  From how much other folks were talking it up I feel like I'm a bad beer lover for not liking it. :(

It is meant to taste that way  :)

That being said, the amount of funk, acidity, bitterness, and even malt color vary from year to year and depending on how long it has been aged.  The "barnyard" funk of brettanomyces is the common thread in every bottle, though.  It can be an acquired taste; you may want to try other beers that have brett in them to compare.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 05:24:34 PM »
Fresh in Belgium, they are very different.  Some say best at 6 months of age, which might be as early as they can be found here.  At the Kulminator in Antwerp, you can do a vertical tasting!
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 05:29:35 PM »
Belgian beers are my absolute favorites, but the taste from one to another can vary greatly. I like Chimay, love Koenigshoven, don't like Orval, really love Malhuer.  Its all relative to your own taste. Try different ones, you'll find something you like...
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Offline deepsouth

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 05:30:49 PM »
i hated my first and loved all the ones after. 
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 05:32:54 PM »
Try another one in a year.  And try some of the lighter ones like Boulevard Saison Brett or Goose Island Matilda in the meantime.  Orval is one of my very favorite beers but as stated before it's an acquired taste not everybody gets into.  And that's the way it should be.
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Offline pfooti

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 08:56:36 PM »
Orval, for what its worth, is also a beautiful abbey to visit. I've actually only ever had the beer at the abbey, never tried it back here once I got back to the states. Figured I'd be either disappointed or otherwise strangely surprised.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 04:57:11 AM »
Just because it's funky doesn't mean it's Belgian.  I've had bottles of Orval that have been terribly off.  It shouldn't smell like a urinal cake.   >:(

Look at my avatar.  That's a fresh Orval (which means 6 months old) at the cafe right next to the monastery.  It's an absolutely spectacular beer.  But you have to enjoy the taste of Brettanomyces.  Brett is variable, and you have to be able to appreciate the range of flavors it can produce.  It shouldn't be solventy.

I don't know what other beers you like, but if you aren't used to some of those flavors, you should probably start on a slightly less aggressive beer so you can develop an appreciation (or decide you just don't like) those flavors.  That's not a knock; it's just how you learn to try new beers.  Ease your way into them if they have unfamiliar flavors.

This beer can take awhile to warm up to.  But it's worth it.
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Offline uthristy

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 05:16:36 AM »
Another post about >  "Gods HomeBrew" - Tim Webb
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=4966.0

Offline majorvices

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2011, 05:28:28 AM »
It's an absolutely spectacular beer.  But you have to enjoy the taste of Brettanomyces.  Brett is variable, and you have to be able to appreciate the range of flavors it can produce.  It shouldn't be solventy.

Absolutely this^^^^ - if you are unaccustomed to the flavors of brettanomyces it can be shocking to the taste buds. The longer it ages the more the brett comes through. Have to admit, though, I never have had a bad bottle of Orval. One of my favorite beer. Period.

One thing I would recommend. Don't bring expectations to the table when trying belgians. Let them taste the way they tastes.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2011, 05:30:46 AM »
I've discovered that I like a little Brett, but not too much.  And therefore, I don't like Orval much at all.  There are points at which Brett character is great, but then given more age it just seems to go BAD.
Dave

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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2011, 05:41:35 AM »
Dave, if you get to Belgium, try it young.  If you don't like it then, then you don't like it.

I've given up on trying to drink DeKoninck in the states.  So I just drink it in Belgium.  Happily. 

Fun DeKoninck story.  OK, you know how to use hand signs to indicate numbers?  Well, they use different signs in the US and Europe.  "One" isn't your index finger, it's your thumb.  So when I wanted two DeKonincks, I used the "peace sign" (or V-for-victory sign).  I wasn't using the thumb, so they assumed it was there and gave me 3 beers.  Extra DeKoninck, never a bad idea.

If you want to confuse a European, use the "catcher's sign for three" (make an OK, but show the three lower fingers).  They have absolutely no idea what that means.

In retrospect, I'm probably lucky I didn't get stabbed.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2011, 06:05:17 AM »
Who knows?  You could have pulled a "Nixon."

http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/22179.html

When we were in Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon, we pulled into a Cantina advertising 3 for 1 margaritas. 
I placed the order for one margarita (thinking my wife and I could put away the 3 between us).  They brought 6. 

Offline hokerer

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2011, 07:01:52 AM »
When we were in Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon, we pulled into a Cantina advertising 3 for 1 margaritas. 
I placed the order for one margarita (thinking my wife and I could put away the 3 between us).  They brought 6. 

Certainly, you're not complaining, are you ?
Joe

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Orval - disappointed
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2011, 07:34:43 AM »
Nixon?  No, I think this is more like it:

« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 07:36:29 AM by gordonstrong »
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong