Chimay is an authentic Trappist ale. That means that it is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the supervision and responsibility of the monastic community, which is involved in the entire process of making and selling the ale.
The various raw materials – water that comes solely from the two wells located on the abbey’s grounds and cracked malt (sprouted and then dried barley that is crushed by rollers) – are mixed in the mash tun. This liquid mash is then heated stepwise to turn the barley starch into fermentable sugars.
The ale is kept in a storage vat kept at a temperature close to 0°C (32°F) for a few days. This step eliminates the last solid residues that remain in the ale.
After bottling, the ale is stored in a temperature-controlled room for three weeks until the bottle fermentation is complete. That is when the maturation begins. Connoisseurs claim that its maturation can continue for years, but that’s another story.
The bulk of the revenue that this activity generates is used to finance social services and cover the community’s needs.