Sunday, 22 November 2015


Origin: Belgium | Date: 2011 | ABV: 6.2% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007

I used to have a job that paid in Orval. I accumulated a couple of cases and I haven't even finished the first one yet. So I thought it might be interesting to throw a bottle from that stash-within-the-stash into the mix every now and then. 2nd September 2011 is the bottling date, with a best-before five years later, so this is still inside the timeframe envisaged by the brewers for the beer to be as they intended.

It's lost none of its gushing power in the years I've had it: lots of foam generated the mess lacing on the inside of my glass. It's brighter than I was expecting, the yeast mostly stuck fast to the bottom of the bottle.

No horses on the nose, that's for sure. It smells sweeter, all sultanas and similar dried fruit, with a pronounced pithy zest. There's still quite a fresh bitterness in the flavour, the orangey Styrian Goldings still making their presence felt. And I get some hot higher alcohols too: some marker pens and nail varnish remover. Thankfully it finishes abruptly and cleanly so this isn't as much of a flaw as might be imagined.

The overall vibe is warming and cuddly; a slice of fruitcake and a hot cup of tea. Based on recent experiences of drinking vintage Belgian beers brewed with brettanomyces, I expect this one will dry out and get funkier in time. But for now, it's doing a great job.

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