Duvel Moortgat Brewery
Duvel Moortgat is an independent family business with a distinctive focus on specialty beers. Duvel Moortgat encompasses 11 breweries: 4 in Belgium, 3 in United States, 1 in Czech Republic, 1 in Italy, 1 in the Netherlands and 1 in United Kingdom.
Founded in 1871 in Antwerp by Jan-Leonard Moortgat, who was descended from a family of brewers that lived in Steenhuffel, Belgium. In the 1950s, the third generation of Moortgats took control of the brewery.
To commemorate the end of World War I, the Moortgats named their main beer Victory Ale. In the 1920s, an avid drinker described the beer as “nen echten duvel” (a real devil in Brabantian Dutch) – perhaps in reference to its formidable alcohol content (8.5% ABV) – and the name of the beer was changed to Duvel. It has become the brewery’s flagship beer. Considered by many the definitive version of the Belgian Strong Pale Ale style, Duvel is brewed with Pilsner malt and dextrose, and hopped with Saaz hops and Styrian Goldings, the yeast still stems from the original culture of Scottish yeast bought by Albert Moortgat during a business tour of the U.K. just after World War I.
In 2007, a special version of the regular Duvel, which typically uses 2 hop varieties, was released. This limited-edition product added American hops of the Amarillo variety, boosted the alcohol content to 9.5% ABV and is called Duvel Tripel Hop. In 2010, a second limited-edition of Tripel Hop was brewed after a bet with the Duvel Moortgat CEO. If the Facebook group We want Duvel Tripel Hop reached at least 10,000 members, a second edition would be brewed. The group reached 10,000 members within a few months and the CEO stuck to his promise. Between 2010-2016, 6 editions of Duvel Tripel Hop were released:
- 2010: Amarillo.
- 2012: Citra.
- 2013: Sorachi Ace.
- 2014: Mosaic.
- 2015: Equinox.
- 2016: HBC 291.
In May 2016, Duvel issued special edition blind tasting packs of the six releases of Duvel Tripel Hop, and opened an online vote for people to choose their favourite edition. In June 2016 it was announced that the most popular edition was the 2012 Duvel Tripel Hop: Citra, and that this would become a permanent addition to the Duvel Moortgat portfolio.
The Unique Duvel Brewing Process
Apart from pure spring water, which is the main ingredient of beer, barley is the most important raw material. Barley must germinate for five days in the malt house, after which malt remains. The colour of the malt, and the colour of the beer as a consequence, is determined by the temperature. Duvel obtains its typical bitterness by adding various varieties of aromatic Slovenian and Czech hops. They use only exclusive hops that are renowned for their constant, outstanding quality.
Duvel ferments for the first time in tanks at 20–26°C. The brewer uses his own culture for this. The original yeast strain, which Albert Moortgat himself selected in the 1920s, originates from Scotland. After maturing in storage tanks, in which the beer is cooled down to -2°C, the drink is ready for bottling. Thanks to the addition of extra sugars and yeast, the beer ferments again in the bottle. This occurs in warm cellars (24°C) and takes two weeks.
Then the beer is moved to cold cellars, where it continues to mature and stabilise for a further six weeks. This extra long maturation period is unique and contributes to the refined flavour and pure taste of Duvel.
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