The recipe, originally from the 12th century, was found in the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre at Grimbergen Abbey's archives and written in Old Latin and Old Dutch. The monks did significant research and translation work before they were able to even read it.
The recipe was thought to be lost since 1798, according to the Metro, when the abbey was burned down, but it was apparently saved by monks who stashed it in a secret hole in the wall along with other books.
It took four years to start brewing the recipe, and the monks were only just recently able to take their first sip. The incredibly strong brew is 10.8 percent ABV, which is almost twice the average ABV of most craft beers.
The abbey’s new master brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon admitted that they made some changes to the recipe in the name of taste, according to the Metro. As HowStuffWorks puts it, beer was a sort of nutritional alternative to water, though it was never used as a replacement for water as many myths would have us believe. Instead, it was more of a caloric beverage for workers who were “thirsty and in need of energy.”
Sochon agrees, saying the beer was “a bit tasteless, it was like liquid bread.” So this new brew was clearly revamped for modern tastes.