What's the difference between normal beer and trappist? Is there any difference in flavour or brewing style?

  • 2
    What is a "normal" beer. For me Trappist beer IS normal beer.
    – user150
    Feb 24, 2014 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


Trappist beers are all abbey beers, but not all abbey beers are trappist. It's a bit like champagne, it's a protected product name to designate a certain type of classical brewn beers.Trappist is the enumeration of beers brew within the walls of an abbey inhabitted by the Trappist monks of the Tre Fontane.

Currently (Okt. 2015) there are 11 recognized trappists, of which 10 are actively producing:

Six Belgian trappists:

  • Chimay
  • Orval
  • Westmalle
  • Westvleteren (St. Sixtus)
  • Achel (St. Benedictus of the Achelse kluis)
  • Rochefort


  • La Trappe (Brouwerij de Koningshoeven)
  • Zundert (Brouwerij Abdij Maria Toevlucht)


  • Stift Engelszell


  • Tre Fontane Abbey

United States of America:

  • Spencer

There's also one aspiring Trappist brewery in the US named St. Joseph’s Abbey.

There are some strict rules to obtain "Authentic Trappiste Product":

  1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  2. The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
  3. The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.

There are some standardized naming conventions, for instance the Double (orginally used by Westmalle) is a brown ale which has an alcohol level of around 7%.

The Tripple is another name first used by Westmalle, which are often blond and have an alcohol level of about 8% to 10%.

For future reference you can always visit the Trappiste website here.

  • 1
    Although not strictly necessary, it would be nice if you could elaborate on where you obtained this information - whether you're drawing from external sources or your own experience, noting that in the answer can be helpful to future readers.
    – Shog9
    Jan 23, 2014 at 1:09
  • I'll update the answer :) Jan 23, 2014 at 6:00
  • Your own link also talks about the Spencer in the US, which you left out.
    – Bryan Cain
    Feb 5, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    @BryanCain that actually changed recently, they only got their first batch last month I think. Feb 5, 2014 at 18:29
  • Ah yes, I missed the date of your original answer - sorry about that.
    – Bryan Cain
    Feb 6, 2014 at 16:43

Lucas Kauffman has given a lot of details about the question you asked. I want only to add that all Trappist beers have this logo

Trappist logo

on their label except Westvleteren beer which does not have any kind of label on the bottle.


The wort in a trappist beer contains several kinds of malt and 'candy' (sugar) to increase the alcohol content.

  • 2
    Not necessarily. There are many styles of beer brewed by the Trappists. The tripels would have candi sugar, but lower gravity ones may not. The various styles use several kinds of malt, but so do most British ales, American micro-brews, etc.
    – jalynn2
    Apr 10, 2014 at 17:04

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