Uncovered Medieval Recipes Inspire Monks To Revive Brewing Heritage

A small brewery is to be built inside the walls of Grimbergen Abbey near Brussels after monks uncovered long-lost recipes and brewing techniques recorded in medieval manuscripts…

Here’s what we know…

Last year, when the monks of the Belgian monastery of Grimbergen decided it was time to get back into the brewing game and relaunch a famous Abbey Ale that they’d stopped producing in the 18th century, they were confronted with the ugly reality that they couldn’t find the original recipe in their archives.

Founded in 1128, the monastery was destroyed three times in its history and the original recipe, not seen for over 200 years, was thought to be lost for good….until now.

And in what some are referring to as an “Act of God,” the found manuscript with its ancient brewing techniques and recipes will serve as a ‘brewing bible ‘for a new brewery the Belgian monks will be building within the walls of their abbey.

Father Karel Stautemas, who was part of the multi-year search that eventually discovered the lost manuscript is planning to undertake formal brewing training and will join head brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon in Grimbergen Abbey brewery’s launch.

Father Karel Stautemas toasts future brewery

This from Father Stautemas…

“Beer has always been part of life in the abbey and we are proud of the beers we have today. We’ve really enjoyed reading more about past brewing traditions in the pages of these ancient texts. We’ve spent hours leafing through the books, which are written in Latin and Old Dutch, and have discovered ingredient lists for beers brewed in previous centuries, the hops used, the types of barrels and bottles, and even a list of the actual beers produced centuries ago.”

“This new knowledge adds to our brewing heritage and I’m really looking forward to combining this with my training to revive brewing at Grimbergen Abbey. We will continue to study further to learn more of the book’s undiscovered secrets.”

The range of beers currently produced under the Grimbergen brand share the name of the monastery as well as its phoenix emblem and motto.

Those beers were first made on site in 1128, however the brewery was moved away from the abbey in the 18th century.

Since 1958 Grimbergen Beers have been produced locally by the Alken Maes Brewery, as well as by a Carlsberg-owned brewery for international markets.

“At a launch event held at the abbey, Grimbergen unveiled a limited-edition 10.8% ABV Grimbergen Triple d’Abbaye which it said is an example of the type of beer that will be brewed at the microbrewery, once it has been constructed,” according to the Drinks Business. “The beer was aged in whiskey barrels for five months according to a similar technique that was used to brew beers in the 1500s.”

Expected to open to the public in late 2020, the new brewery at Grimbergen Abbey, will have the capacity to produce three million 33cl bottles each year and feature a tasting room, restaurant and visitor center.

About AmericanCraftBeer.com

AmericanCraftBeer.com is the nations' leading source for the Best Craft Beer News, Reviews, Events and Media.
Scroll To Top