Located within the confines of the Abbey, the Orval Brewery was created in 1931 to finance the enormous reconstruction works of Orval. It has hired lay workers from the outset, including the master brewer, Pappenheimer, who invented the recipe. The brewer’s commercial policy is adapted to the values of the monastic community. Income from Royalties generated from the brand name go to social welfare works and the maintenance of the buildings.
SCARCITY OF BEER
Lovers of Orval's beer bear witness to a fidelity that continues to amaze us. They seem to have influenced their friends to such an extent that this so typical beer is in very high demand. As a result, both stores and taverns are running out of this beer too often and too quickly!
The birthplace of “Orval” beer continues to be Orval's Brewery, located within the walls of the monastery of Orval, where Trappist monks live and are the shareholders and manager of the company. The production facilities, completely renovated in the course of the last fifteen years, represent the most modern technologies of brewing science. They are finely tuned for quality and respectful maintenance of the original methods of production which have been in use in this same location for almost eighty years.
You often give witness to the value you attach to this place of origin and, given the fact that you do realize that Orval is not an industrial park, there will never be a question of any major developments in the production process.
With quantities of 40,000 hectoliters (approximately 1,056,680 gallons) brewed and bottled during the year 2000, increasing to 69,000 hectoliters (approximately 1,822,770 gallons) in 2012, would we now be approaching the limit of our capacities? We have to answer you with a resounding YES! However much you value our beer, so much the more do we regret having to tell you this, and consequently having to say that we cannot offer more.
The present production of around 70,000 hectoliters per year, if this occurs on as regular a schedule as possible throughout the course of a year, signifies the optimal, most harmonious conditions for use of our facilities.
Slightly exceeding these capacities is not impossible, but the necessary additional effort at the level of quality control would then no longer be proportional. Added to these production demands, is our continuing concern to divide the available volume as justly as possible among the various distributors in Belgium. Furthermore, we are in no way trying to develop our export business. For many years now, our exported volume has been kept below the 15% limit.
Therefore we can only consider a stabilization of our sales in the short or medium term. We thank you for your understanding and for your faithful esteem for Orval's beer.
The RAW MATERIALS for Orval beer are spring water, two-row malting spring barley, aromatic hops and liquid candy sugar.
After grinding and what is known as “infusion” brewing and filtering, the wort is sent to the wort boiler where it is boiled for one and a half hours; it is then that the hops are added. The wort is then cooled.
Specific Orval “top fermentation” yeasts are microscopic fungi that turn sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The first fermentation in conical-cylindrical tanks takes four to five days at a temperature of 15 to 23°C.
A second strain of yeast is added to continue the fermentation. Bags containing hop cones are macerated in the beer for two to three weeks to improve the aromas of the beer – a process known as dry hopping.
After centrifugation, new yeast and sugar are added to trigger re-fermentation in bottles, and the beer is then stored. Orval Brewery produces only one bottled beer. Optimum quality is ensured through continuous inspections.
FERMENTATION IN BOTTLES
Once stored, the beer will continue to ferment slowly in maturiing cellars for three to five weeks at a constant temperature of 15°C. The temperature at which the beer will be enjoyed will depend on this re-fermentation temperature.
The skittle-shaped bottle was designed specially to delight the eye of the consumer with a superb beer, by retaining the yeast sediment when the beer is served. This sediment is teeming with vitamin B, and can be drunk afterwards.
Brasserie d’Orval s.a.
Orval, n° 2,
Tél. : +32 61 311 261 / Fax : +32 61 312 927
The Brewery is open to visitos onlu during the annual open house
The conditions for visiting the brewery are the folowing ones : to be "more than" tourists, having something to do with the beer distribution or coming from a brewery ; on weekdays ; on appointment; without any entry fees.
Trppist products are recongnisable from these initials. There are only seven Trappist breweries in the world.