The A-Z of Speciality Beer :: Part 3

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This final chapter in our series “The A to Z of Speciality Beer” explores refermentation - the technique we use in our brewing process, Trappist beers, and the Van Steenberge Brewery, where our beer is brewed. R is for refermentation, the process by which the yeast in the beer once it is bottled goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This allows the beer to convert the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and contributes to the distinctive flavours and aromas to the beer. This process is evident in both our beers, enhancing the flavours of our Blonde and Grand Cru. S is for St. Stefanus. Our Belgian abbey beer matures in the bottle, allowing you to choose your age and discover how the flavours change over time. Our beer has a history dating back to 1295, originally brewed by Augustine monks in the city of Ghent. Today, our beer is brewed by the family-run, Van Steenberge Brewery (see V). T is for Trappist beer. This is a beer brewed by monks inside a monastery. There are ten officially recognised Trappist breweries. You’ll find six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Austria and one in the United States (see Z). Read our article to learn more about what constitutes a Trappist beer. T is for Tripel. This beer style is associated with Trappist brewing, and generally implies a stronger beer. You can generally expect a colour varying from yellow to gold, with complex flavours and aromas including sweetness, subtle spice, and a good balance of hops and malt. Our Grand Cru follows the traditional Tripel recipe. U is for unpasteurised. Traditionally, wine and beer are pasteurised in order to prevent them from souring, however, this can affect the life of the beer. St. Stefanus Blonde is unpasteurised, and we use the more natural method of lagering to preserve the beer. Lagering takes place in the lager room, where liquid that has been fermented is then very slowly cooled to a temperature of 2 degrees, before the yeast is filtered out. This can often be a process of weeks or even months. V is for the Van Steenberge Brewery, where our beer is brewed. The family run brewery, based just outside of Ghent, took over the brewing of St. Stefanus from our monastery in 1978. This allowed us to preserve the quality of our beer with new brewing techniques and equipment, while maintaining the original recipe. W is for wort. This is the sticky, sugar-rich substance produced from malt. Hops are added to the wort, and this mixture is boiled, to form the basis of beer. Yeast is then added to begin the fermentation process. X is for the X labelling system originally given to beers from the Low Countries to indicate their strength. A Dubbel was marked with a XX, a Tripel with a XXX, and a Quadrupel with a XXXX. The number of crosses indicated the strength of the wort that was used in their brewing. Y is for yeast. This key ingredient kick-starts fermentation and contributes to the flavour and aroma of the resulting brew. Put simply, without yeast there would be no beer! The St. Stefanus brewing process uses three yeasts during primary and secondary fermentation, including our wild Jerumanus yeast (see J). Learn more in our article, “All about Yeast”. Z is for Zundert, one of the two new Trappist beers. Zundert is brewed by the monks of the Maria Toevlucht abbey in the Netherlands. And the other new Trappist beer? Spencer hails from St. Joseph’s Abbey in Massauchusetts, USA. Which other terms would you include in your own A to Z of speciality beer? If you missed our first two articles, you can find A to I in Part 1 and J to Q in Part 2.

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