What's the difference between normal beer and trappist? Is there any difference in flavour or brewing style?
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:
- Westvleteren (St. Sixtus)
- Achel (St. Benedictus of the Achelse kluis)
- La Trappe (Brouwerij de Koningshoeven)
- Zundert (Brouwerij Abdij Maria Toevlucht)
- Stift Engelszell
- Tre Fontane Abbey
United States of America:
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":
- The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
- 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
- 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.
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
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.