Jesuit Beer, 1627

This beer recipe is featured in the March/April 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This historical recipe was recreated courtesy of Roel Mulder.

In 1627, someone at the headquarters of the Flemish province of the Jesuits in Brussels thought it was a good idea to investigate the brewing methods of their subsidiary monasteries. The result was a recipe for “good beer” that was recommended as the standard for the Jesuits. The Belgian historians Erik Aerts and Eddy Put who rediscovered this recipe, tried to compare it to today’s abbey beers but had to admit that, to our modern palates, the 17th-century original must have been a “quite mushy drink.”

In any case, the recipe states that the beer is at its healthiest if its color is not white, not brown, but, “of middle colour, that is orange.” In other words, it’s a three-grain amber beer. Roel added some roasted barley to get to that color. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the quantity of hops involved, so that is at your own discretion.

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