Picture of all seven trappist beers CC BY-SA 3.0 Robin Vanspauwen / Bram Weyens
JRC scientists trap imitators of genuine Trappist beers
Scientists of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributed to the development of methods that can identify genuine monastic beers produced by Trappist monks. The method used in a recent study is able to distinguish genuine Trappist beers from other beers, including so-called "Abbey beers", which are mass-produced commercial products. Each beer or wine has a specific chemical profile or "fingerprint", which can be traced with so-called liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry.
Trappist Beers are produced for non-commercial purposes by only seven small Trappist breweries in the world, six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. They are considered handcrafted products brewed according to traditional production techniques already used by monks in medieval times.
The JRC has a long-standing tradition in authenticating beverages and foodstuffs such as wine, olive oil and beer. The techniques developed by the JRC are very efficient tools to trace adulteration and to ensure the authenticity and quality of what European consumers eat and drink.