Monday, August 10, 2009

Brewing Like A Monk

I started to read "Brew Like A Monk" by Stan Hieronymus a while back and there were a couple paragraphs in the foreward by Tim Webb that really grabbed my attention:

"Unfortunately, in the permanent, and I for one think misguided, quest to keep down production costs, the recent falls in the quality of the fermented beers are now revealing the effects of flawed recipes rather more than was previously the case. At Rochefort the taste impact of the beers has diminished a little, through reduction in lagering time and, I suspect, by rather too enthusiastic filtration. In Chimay and Westmalle beers one finds the acrid backtastes of fast fermentation, set against a backdrop of svelte character. Orval remains a classic brew but is less extreme in its statements and is the smaller for that."

"In a head-to-head tasting of Belgian-style abbey beers made by American microbrewers, in Arlington, Virginia, in early 2005, I was shocked to find that the American imitations were knocking the socks off certain freshly imported "real" Trappist ales." I should not have been. After all, the Belgians have been imitating them for years, and some the pretenders, such as St. Bernardus, Kapittel, Witkap, Dupont, and St. Feuillien, are way better than most of the originals."

"So if you want to brew like a monk, what should you do? Not imitate current practice, that is for sure. Perhaps the best advice would be to brew with good intentions."

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