AUTHENTIC TRAPPIST ALES

Chimay is an authentic Trappist ale.
That means that it is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the supervision and responsibility of the monastic community, which is involved in the entire process of making and selling the ale.

The bulk of the revenue that this activity generates is used to finance social services and cover the community’s needs.

GOOD TASTING DEPENDS ON GOOD SERVING

  1. Tilt your glass at 45°.
  2. Delicately pour half of the bottle into the glass.
  3. Straighten the glass to finish serving.
  4. Leave the last centimetre at the bottom of the bottle to avoid the yeast clouding your beer.

However, if you wish, the beer can of course be served with its yeast, which is perfectly edible.

1 - Mashing

The various raw materials – water that comes solely from the two wells located on the abbey’s grounds and cracked malt (sprouted and then dried barley that is crushed by rollers) – are mixed in the mash tun.  This liquid mash is then heated stepwise to turn the barley starch into fermentable sugars.

2 – Lautering

The liquid mass is then filtered in order to separate the grist (barley husks and insoluble residues) from the wort (liquid fraction that cannot yet be called ale at this stage of brewing).  The grist is a choice feed for livestock, and farmers from the area collect it from the brewery to feed their cows, the very cows that then give the milk used to make…Chimay cheese!

3 - Boiling

The wort is then brought to a boil at 100°C (212°F).  That is when hops are added, with a portion being reserved at the end of the boiling to produce the bitterness and flavor for which the beer is known.  This boiling sterilizes the wort.

4 – Clarifying and cooling

The wort is clarified in a centrifuge to separate out all solid residues, and then cooled down before continuing to the fermentation vat.

5 - Fermentation

The wort is then sent on to the fermentation vats to yield a liquid that can be called “ale” at the end of 3-5 days.  The process is known as “top fermentation” because it takes place at a temperature between 18 and 32°C (64.4-89.6°F) and the yeast rises to the surface of the fermented ale.

6 – Centrifuging and cooling

In the course of the wort’s fermentation the yeast has multiplied.  The excess yeast must thus be removed.  To do that, the ale is centrifuged and then cooled.  The yeast residue is recovered, dried, and pressed to become the famous tablets of Trappist brewer’s yeast, which are rich in vitamins B and H and recommended as a powerful natural supplement.

7 – Storage

The ale is kept in a storage vat kept at a temperature close to 0°C (32°F) for a few days.  This step eliminates the last solid residues that remain in the ale.

8 – Preparing for bottling

The ale that comes out of the storage vat is flat, limpid, and brilliant.  Fresh yeast is then added to give it the right final alcohol content and effervescence.   This ale is then taken by tanker truck to the bottling plant at Baileux.

9 – Bottling

The ale, supplemented with yeast, is bottled at the rate of 40,000 bottles per hour.  Its head and effervescence are achieved by the oldest and most natural process known, i.e., bottle refermentation.  It is completely flat when tapped for bottling.  The prior addition of sugar and yeast to the bottle produces this second maturation step, a true “champagne” process that takes three weeks.  This process saturates the liquid with carbon dioxide while making the beer even more digestible, raising its alcohol content, and refining its personality.

10 - Refermentation

After bottling, the ale is stored in a temperature-controlled room for three weeks until the bottle fermentation is complete.  That is when the Chimay’s maturation begins.  Connoisseurs claim that its maturation can continue for years, but that’s another story.

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Milestones in Chimay’s history

ADS biere forte belge Father Theodore isolates the unique yeast cells that are still the basis of today’s Chimay Trappist ale.
1948
Spéciale 1956 Creation of Chimay Cinq Cents, which also goes by the name of Chimay Triple.
1966
bouteille chimay bleue Creation of Chimay Cinq Cents on tap.
2001
 
1862
Chimay’s monks brew their first ale according to monastic natural brewing traditions.
Moine 1956The monastic community develops a Christmas ale, now known as Chimay Grande Réserve. blason chimay triple 1982
Creation of Chimay Grande Réserve and, in 1986, Chimay Cinq Cents (750 ml bottle).
verre chimay 2013
Chimay Gold is released for sale.

 

Chimay around the world

CHIMAY TRAPPIST BEERS AROUND THE WORLD

Our Trappist beers are appreciated all over the world.

You can find them in many establishments near you or on your travels.

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