Tag: monks

Belgium Monks Make Beer History with Recipe from Lost 1700s Book!

According to The Guardian, Father Karel Stautemas, “in the presence of the town’s mayor and 120 journalists and enthusiasts,” made a startling announcement.


The 'Aliens' Meme

Image Via Cactus Hugs

The abbey, which Reuters notes has a phoenix emblem ‘with the Latin motto ‘Ardet nec consumitur’, meaning ‘Burned but not destroyed’,” was burned down in 1798 by French secular revolutionaries. As a result, the 12th century recipe was thought to be lost, but turns out the recipe, along with 300 others books, had been smuggled out and hidden within ancient archives.

Thus, Father Karel Stautemas told the awaiting crowd that, after “four years of research into the methods of monks that brewed beer in the Norbertine monastery” they had recreated the beer.



Father Karel Stautemas, subprior of Grimbergen Abbey, sips a glass of the rediscovered medieval beer in front of a stained-glass window symbolically depicting the phoenix

Image Via The Daily Mail

It seems that after rediscovering the recipes, the Monks called in some volunteers to read the old Latin and old Dutch, who revealed that the newly-discovered recipe had “details about the original monks’ brewing methods, specifically their use of hops rather than fermented herbs, which put the monks ahead of many of their contemporaries”.

The monks got to work. They did their best to keep the brewing as authentic as possible, such as using “wooden barrels and exploitation of particular local soil”, but changes had to be made. The Monks used only a few selected methods for brewing from the old manuscripts given that, as Master brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon explained to Daily Mail, “[i]n those times, regular beer was a bit tasteless, it was like liquid bread’”.

Who wants to drink liquid bread except for the person sitting to your left, dear reader?

Plus, changes keep in line with tradition, according to Father Stautemas, who said that that the monks of ancient times “kept on innovating” and thus “changed their recipe every ten years”.


2016, Abbot Erik de Sutter of Belgium's Grimbergen Abbey tastes a beer

Image Via UK Reuters

And this wasn’t their first rodeo. In 1950s the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre, located at Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium, were approached by local brewer Maes. Since then, the abbey has famously created and worked with commercial brewers to “to use the Grimbergen name and emblem on its ‘abbey beer’.”

The ale won’t be available for mass consumption until the late 2020s, but maybe that’s a good thing. The Daily Mail warns us to “be careful” because “the new ancient brew – at 10.8 per cent alcohol content it’s likely to blow your cassock off.”

Personally, I’d take my chances


Featured Image Via The Guardian

sister act

This Scholar Is out to Recognize the Literary Achievement of Renaissance Nuns and We Are Here for It!

For centuries, credit for writing manuscripts, hymns, and other written relics from the Renaissance period has gone primarily to the monks. Their texts have survived all of these hundreds of years, and we continue to appreciate and value their impact on our human history and development. But what of the women who had also promised themselves to their God and the work they might have done to further the import of written word to the masses? Melissa Moreton has devoted her post-doctoral Fellowship to discovering the mysteries behind these unnamed nuns!


melissa moreton

Melissa Moreton | Image Via Graduate College University of Iowa


Moreton had been doing graduate research in Florence, Italy and it was there that she discovered there was little to no information on the work that Renaissance nuns almost certainly accomplished during their time in the convents. She found that a lot of the liturgical texts, books on religious rituals, entries about girls entering the convents, and various histories written by women were published anonymously. Now, she has made it her mission to uncover the truth behind these anonymous texts, and give recognition to the accomplishments of these hard-working women. She is working in tandem with a medieval scholar Professor Emerita Constance Berman to pay them due respect.


Moreton says

Most of the manuscripts nuns made were devotional [for prayer, study, contemplation] and liturgical, books that the nuns sung from in the choir and those that helped them perform important religious rituals. They also copied theological texts and kept administrative documents, used to keep track of their financial transactions and the daily operations of the house. They wrote extensive convent histories, called chronicles, and books of entry and death, which recorded the names and information of the women who entered as girls and commemorated them in death.



Image Via Pinterest


In her research, Moreton has also discovered that not only were the nuns writing texts centered around God and the Church, but also various plays and pieces of art. Their books are littered with beautiful designs and intricate calligraphy that showcase a testament to their craft and passion for creation. She finds it unfortunate that it is the monks who receive all credit when it comes to the work and she cannot wait to devote her research project to this endeavor. 


Feature Image Via The Film Experience