La Rochefort 8 was brewed for the first time in 1954. At the start, it was specially created by the monks for one of their big customers, who wanted to celebrate Christmas with a new brew. He liked it so much that he asked for this new beer to be brewed again, every Christmas.
This allowed the Rochefort 8 to be gradually appreciated by a larger number of customers … Who therefore did not take long to give it this affectionate nickname: the “Special” for … “Special Christmas”!
In 1960, faced with the growing success of Rochefort 8, the monks decided to fulfill the wish of their customers, by brewing it continuously! Since that day, Rochefort 8 has therefore established itself as a classic and a must in the family of Rochefort Trappist beers. It is so classic that it has become the most produced Rochefort beer among its sisters!
Since 1954, Rochefort 8 beer owes its inimitable taste to its unique ingredients: its water and yeasts.
1. Unique water
In 1797, while the monks of Rochefort Abbey were digging a lead mine gallery under their monastery, they pierced the rock and discovered the flow of pure and limpid spring water, coming from the Tridaine spring, located on a plateau a few meters from the abbey.
Since then, the water from this spring flows naturally through the opening thus created by the monks, 42 meters below the abbey. Particularly rare in current brewing production: it is consumed by the Abbey and the Rochefort brewery without any treatment. Indeed, it is so pure that it does not need to undergo any bacteriological, physical or chemical treatment.
When you know that beer is made up of more than 90% water, you can imagine the impact of such pure water on the quality of Rochefort 8!
2. A very specific yeast
It is rather rare to have your own strain of yeast, which is generally standardized. But the yeast used in brewing Rochefort 8 is unique! Indeed, over time, the initial strain has mutated and has become one of a kind, so that the Rochefort brewery thus has its own strain.
Today it is preciously preserved in the abbey. For safety, a reserve strain is also stored at the Catholic University of Louvain. Not crazy these monks!