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Abbey and Trappist

Trappist and Abbey beers aren't beer styles, per se: Trappist ales are brewed by monks or within the walls of a Trappist monastery and are certified by the International Trappist Association as having satisfied that and a few other strict requirements. Abbey beers, by comparison, are similar to Trappist ale flavour and style traditions with one big difference: any old John Smith could brew those beers and he doesn’t have to be a monk and give all his profits away to charity to do it.

Style-wise, Trappist and Abbey beers are generally described as Dubbels or Tripels, with some blondes or strong darks/Quadrupels thrown in for good measure. There are only 10 recognized Trappist breweries in the world that carry the ATP (Authentic Trappist Product) label: six in Belgium (Westvleteren, Westmalle, Achel, Rochefort, Orval, and Chimay,) two in The Netherlands--one being Koningshoeven, one in Austria, and one in The USA. On the other hand, it’s hard to quantify the number of abbey beer producers as, technically, any secular producer of the aforementioned styles are making abbey beers.

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It isn’t possible to pigeonhole all Trappist/Abbey beers within one style or range as they produce such a varied selection however all of them produce Blonde, Dubbel and Tripel with the odd Quadrupel being produced.

  • Blonde  - A derivation from a pale ale.  Light and fresh usually with a lush, creamy head and brewed to circa 7% abv
  • Dubbel – A dark beer with more roasted malts and chocolate, spicy flavours, brewed stronger to 8-9%
  • Tripel – An extra strength version of the blonde, brewed to 10%, hoppy  and bursting with flavour
  • Quadrupel – Again stronger thanTripel, but sweeter with a viscous caramel texture.  One for savouring