Brasserie de Rochefort, Abbaye St-Remy

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Some 25 Cistercian monks live at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, near Rochefort in southern France, and four work in the abbey’sbrewery, continuing a practice that was begun in 1595. They rise at what most of us would consider the dead of night to get the mash finished before prayers at 7am.

The abbey is not open to the public but its website discloses that the raw materials used in production are simply water, malted barley, dark cane sugar, German Hallertau and Styrian Goldings hops and yeast. Coriander and other unmalted grains are also understood to be used. Water comes from an aquifer which is fed by the Tridaine springs nearby. The brewery possesses its own two strains of yeast which are carefully cultivated and preserved by the monks. White crystal sugar is used as to prime bottle conditioning. Its beers rest for 6, 8 or 10 weeks (reflected in the names of the products).

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