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Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them
By Stan Hieronymus

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Publisher: Brewers Publications, 2005.
Soft Cover, 295 pages, 5.5 x 8.5.
Item #1385

Discover what makes the heavenly brews of Belgium so good in this new book by long time Real Beer Page Editor Stan Hieronymus. In Brew Like a Monk, he details the beers and brewing of the famous Trappist producers along with dozens of others from both Belgium and America. Sip along as you read and, if you feel yourself divinely inspired to brew some of your own, try out the tips and recipes as well!

From the back cover:

"Like a favorite uncle passing down family tales and beloved recipes, Stan Hieronymus blends humor, a reporter's eye and a vast knowledge (his own and others') of brewing and Belgian beers into a tasty concoction that is not only informative, but also entertaining.
— Lisa Morrison, 2004 Brewers Association Beer Journalism Award recipient

"With Brew Like A Monk, Stan Hieronymus takes an engaging snapshot, capturing the present tense in the rich heritage of monastic brewing. The revealing details do not detract from the artistic side of brewing, but, instead, serve to increase the sense of wonder regarding these elegant beers."
— Randy Thiel, Brewmaster, Brewery Ommegang

A quick flip through the pages:

Could you brew like a monk? Should you? Would you?

The hunt for answers to these questions begins in Belgium by considering the history of monastic brewing and the environment in which Trappist breweries first operated.

This book examines how the pioneers brew, and also how other brewers in Belgium make similar beers. It includes visits to seven essential breweries. Because only six Trappist monasteries brew, and they package but fifteen beers for sale, we can focus on the breweries and each of those beers, then consider the others they inspired. The seventh brewery? The Moortgat Brewery where Duvel was born.

Still more Belgian breweries are profiled befor we ask American brewers producing Belgian-style ales answer the same questions put to the Belgians. Then the book details the ingredients available to American brewers and how to use them.

The goal, of course, remains to brew these beers successfully. Thus, the last chapters deal specifically with the concept of styles, offer tips for professional and amateur brewers, provide specific information about what works, and conclude with recipes and the thinking behind them.

Table of Contents
By Tim Webb

The Trappist Brand
About the Book

Part I—Brewing in Belgium

1. Silence, Please
Monastic Brewing Tradition

2. The Inspiration: Trappist Breweries

3. Beyond the Heavenly Gates (Duvel Moortgat)

4. Abbey Beers
The Multinationals
Sometimes an Abbey, Sometimes Not

5. Independent Spirits
Brouwerij Kerkom
Brasserie Caracole
Every Brewery Tells a Story

Part II—Brewing in America

6. The American Way
Single- (and Dubbel- ) Minded
Expanding Horizons
Monks, Damnation, and Temptation
Auberge de Poteaupré

7. From Kettle to Fermenter
Grain and Mashing
Specialty Grains and Sugar
Hops and Spices

8. Yeast and Fermentation
Esters and Higher Alcohols
Belgian Yeast Strains
Fermentation Temperatures
Pitching Rates
Fermenter Geometry
Putting it Together

9. Bottling

Part III—Brewing Your Own

10. Matters of Style
Trappist Terroir
Before You Brew: Consulting Victor Horta
Judging: Getting It Right

11. Recipes: What Works
What We've Learned
Blonde Ale
Golden and Strong
Dark Strong Ale
Beers Without Homes

About the author
Stan Hieronymus is the editor at and one of America's leading writers on beer and brewing. In 2004 he was given the inaugural Brewers Association Beer Journalism Award in Trade Media and he is also the 1999 recipient of the Beer Writer of the year award. His previous books (all co-authored with Daria Labinsky) include Beer Travelers Guide, Time-Life Brewpub Cookbook, Beer Lovers Guide to the USA, and Frank Applegate of Santa Fe: Artist and Preservationist.

He continues to update information about monastic beers at and muses (almost) daily on other matters of beer at

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