Best Trappist Beers: Rich, Complex, and Brewed with Tradition

Hey beer enthusiasts! Have you ever tasted a Trappist beer? These exceptional brews are made by monks in Trappist monasteries, and they’re known for their rich, complex flavors and deep history.

Imagine savoring a beer that combines centuries of brewing tradition with meticulous craftsmanship—every sip is a journey. Let’s dive into the world of Trappist beers and discover what makes them so special.

1. Westvleteren 12

Westvleteren 12 is often hailed as the best beer in the world, featuring a deep, rich flavor with notes of dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate. It’s like enjoying a luxurious dessert—indulgent, complex, and unforgettable.

2. Chimay Blue

Chimay Blue is a robust Belgian Strong Dark Ale with flavors of dark fruit, spices, and a hint of chocolate. Think of it as a cozy evening by the fireplace with a rich, flavorful treat—comforting and satisfying.

3. Rochefort 10

Rochefort 10 boasts a strong, dark malt character with hints of dried fruit, caramel, and spices. It’s like biting into a spiced fruit cake—rich, warming, and deeply enjoyable.

4. Orval

Orval is a unique Trappist beer with a dry, hoppy profile and a touch of Brettanomyces yeast for added complexity. Imagine a walk through a forest with wildflowers and fresh herbs—refreshing, aromatic, and invigorating.

5. La Trappe Tripel

La Trappe Tripel offers a beautiful golden color and a fruity, spicy flavor profile with a dry finish. It’s like enjoying a sunny day with a zesty, refreshing drink—bright, lively, and delightful.

History and Background

Origins of Trappist Beers

Trappist beers have their roots in the monasteries of the Trappist Order, a branch of the Cistercians. Monks have been brewing beer for centuries, originally to provide sustenance and income for their monasteries. The tradition of Trappist brewing continues to this day, with a focus on quality and craftsmanship.

Evolution Over Time

While the core principles of Trappist brewing have remained unchanged, modern techniques and equipment have enhanced the quality and consistency of these beers. The use of specific yeast strains, aging processes, and ingredient selection has evolved, resulting in the diverse and complex beers we enjoy today.

Key Regions and Their Influence

Trappist beers are primarily brewed in Belgium, with a few exceptions in the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Each region brings its unique touch, influenced by local ingredients and brewing traditions. Belgian Trappist beers are particularly renowned for their rich, complex flavors and meticulous brewing processes.

Characteristics of Trappist Beers


Trappist beers come in a range of colors, from pale gold to deep brown. They often have a hazy appearance with a thick, creamy head. Picture a beautifully crafted piece of art—intricate, inviting, and full of depth.


The aroma of Trappist beers can be fruity, spicy, or malty, depending on the style. Common notes include dark fruit, caramel, spices, and earthy yeast. It’s like walking into a cozy bakery—warm, sweet, and tantalizing.

Flavor Profile

The flavor of Trappist beers is where they truly shine. Expect a harmonious mix of malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and yeast character. Each sip reveals layers of complexity, from the initial sweetness to the lingering finish. It’s like savoring a gourmet meal—rich, satisfying, and deeply enjoyable.


Trappist beers have a smooth, medium to full body with moderate carbonation, providing a rich and satisfying mouthfeel. It’s like enjoying a luxurious dessert—creamy, rich, and perfectly balanced.

Types of Trappist Beers

Trappist Dubbel

Trappist Dubbels are dark, malty, and slightly sweet, with flavors of caramel, dried fruit, and spices. They’re rich and comforting, perfect for a cool evening. Think of them as the ultimate comfort beer—warming, satisfying, and always delightful.

Trappist Tripel

Trappist Tripels are golden, strong, and fruity, with a dry finish and a touch of spice. They’re bright and lively, making them ideal for any celebration. Imagine your favorite summer drink with a sophisticated twist—refreshing, zesty, and full of character.

Trappist Quadrupel

Trappist Quadrupels are strong, dark ales with intense flavors of dark fruit, caramel, and spices. They’re bold and complex, perfect for special occasions. Picture a rich, spiced fruitcake in a glass—indulgent, complex, and deeply satisfying.

Pairing Trappist Beers with Food

Best Food Pairings

Trappist beers are incredibly versatile and pair wonderfully with a variety of dishes. Here are some pairing ideas:

  • Trappist Dubbel: Perfect with roasted meats, stews, and aged cheeses. The caramel and dried fruit flavors complement savory and rich foods.
  • Trappist Tripel: Great with spicy dishes, seafood, and creamy cheeses. The fruity and spicy notes balance bold and spicy flavors.
  • Trappist Quadrupel: Pair with dark chocolate, fruit tarts, and rich desserts. The intense flavors of dark fruit and spices enhance sweet treats.

Why These Pairings Work

The rich and complex flavors of Trappist beers make them an excellent match for both savory and sweet dishes. The malt sweetness complements rich foods, while the hop bitterness and yeast character balance bold flavors.

It’s like having the perfect companion for your meal—each sip enhances the flavors, making every bite more enjoyable.

Homebrewing Trappist Beers

Basic Recipes

Interested in brewing your own Trappist beer? Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • Pale malt
  • Munich malt
  • Belgian candi sugar
  • Hops (like Saaz or Styrian Golding)
  • Yeast (Trappist Ale yeast)
  • Water


  1. Mash the grains at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes.
  2. Boil the wort, adding hops at various stages for bitterness and aroma.
  3. Cool the wort and pitch the yeast.
  4. Ferment at 68°F (20°C) for about two weeks.
  5. Bottle or keg, carbonate, and enjoy your homemade Trappist beer!

Tips and Tricks

For the best results, use fresh ingredients and high-quality malts. Experiment with different yeast strains and sugar additions to create your unique flavor profile. Pay attention to fermentation temperatures to avoid off-flavors and ensure a clean, smooth finish.

Common Challenges

One common challenge is achieving the right balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Start with a balanced recipe and adjust future batches based on your taste preferences.

Another challenge is maintaining the desired level of complexity and depth, which can be managed by using proper brewing techniques and ingredients.

Trends in Trappist Beers

Current Trends

Trappist beers continue to be a respected and sought-after category in the craft beer world. There is a growing interest in preserving traditional brewing methods while also exploring new flavors and ingredients.

Limited edition releases and collaborations with non-Trappist breweries are becoming popular, adding excitement and variety to the Trappist beer scene.

Future Predictions

Looking ahead, we can expect more innovation and creativity in the Trappist beer category.

Brewers will likely continue to explore unique flavor combinations and brewing techniques, such as barrel-aging and wild fermentation, to create new and exciting variations.

Sustainability and local sourcing will also play a bigger role, with brewers focusing on eco-friendly practices and ingredients to meet the growing demand for environmentally conscious products.


To wrap things up, Trappist beers are a fantastic choice for those who love rich, complex, and traditionally brewed beers. Whether you’re enjoying a commercial example or brewing your own, these beers offer a world of complexity and enjoyment.

Their versatility in food pairings and their rich history make them a beloved style among beer enthusiasts. So next time you’re in the mood for something special, reach for a Trappist beer and savor the experience. Cheers!

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