News Analysis

Meanwhile: Belgian abbey rediscovers medieval beer recipe

A Belgian abbey has signed a deal to start brewing beer again – with the help of techniques which they stopped using two centuries ago.

The Norbertine monks at Grimbergen Abbey have gone back to the 12th-century books in their archive, which describe how to brew the beer using hops.

This tradition lasted until 1798, when French revolutionary troops burned down the monastery. Quick-thinking monks rescued the recipe books, but until recently they remained undeciphered, as they were written in Latin and Old Dutch.

With help from volunteers, the monks of Grimbergen have discovered “ingredient lists … the hops used, the types of barrels and bottles, and even a list of the actual beers produced centuries ago,” according to the superior, Fr Karel Statutemas. (Kipper Williams, page 22)

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