Duvel Beer: Everything You Need to Know

It can be difficult to find a worthy brew to sip on in a market oversaturated with watered-down, generic beers. With so many different options, your choices are essentially limitless.

When it comes to beer, two main styles branch off into tons and tons of subcategories: ales and lagers.  Ale is a sweet, full-bodied type of beer made with a fermentation method that utilizes top-fermented yeast. Lager, on the other hand, is produced with bottom-fermented yeast.

When you’re looking for an ale, one name that you can’t go wrong with is Duvel. Duvel is the namesake beer created by Duvel Moortgat. Based in Puurs, Belgium, it is considered the premier strong golden ale in the nation.

In terms of flavor, presentation, and reputation, few beers can match up with Duvel. Its vibrant, golden-brown color and sweet, caramel palate will have you hooked in an instant.

Even the label of this drink describes itself as a “special beer.” Its recipe carries along centuries of history behind it, consistently beating out its competitors. Duvel owns several other international brands, including Firestone Walker, Boulevard, Ommegang, and more.

Here at Saucey, we choose to promote beverages that are crafted with the utmost care. Find out everything you need to know about Duvel Beer below.


Duvel fermentation process

The actual production of Duvel beer involves a wide range of complex processes, but there are three main distinguishing factors that they’re looking for when going through the development process.

First of all, the final product is extremely pale, which has contributed to its iconic image. Secondly, its fermentation profile is extremely rich, both in performance and in flavor. And lastly, the beer is very high in carbonation.

To achieve these characteristics, the beer goes through several intricate processes. First, it is fermented in tanks at 20 to 26°C.

The original yeast strain was selected personally by Albert Moortgat in the 1920s and comes from Scotland. This same strain is used to this day.

Duvel beer is made almost entirely of raw barley. Aside from pure spring water, barley is the most prevalent ingredient. The barley must germinate for five days in a malt house. Duvel is brewed with just a single malt: pilsner malt. The other fermentable ingredient used is liquid dextrose, a simple sugar that is almost completely fermentable.

The malt creates a biscuity taste in the beer and also contributes to its pale blonde color. Duvel Moortgat has not revealed their exact ratio of sugar to malt used, but there is a hefty amount of sugar in this beer.

Afterward, various Slovenian and Czech hops are added to accentuate the drink’s taste and aroma. Duvel only uses their own in-house hops to ensure the originality of their recipe.


Duvel’s extra-long aging process

Then, the blend is matured in storage tanks and cooled down to -2°C. After this process, the drink is ready to be bottled.

But we’re not done yet. With the addition of extra sugars and yeast, the beer will actually ferment again inside the bottle. While this happens, the bottle is stored in a  warm cellar at about 24°C for a total of two weeks.

Finally, the beer is transported to a cold cellar, where it ages and stabilizes even further. It is left in this cold cellar for six weeks. This additional aging process is one of the many aspects of Duvel that makes their production process unique.

This extra long period of maturation adds more flavor and smoothness to the overall taste of the beer.

The drink’s high alcohol content (8.5%) balanced this depth of flavor and smoothness. The drink carries a silky smooth texture that makes it stand out from other beers, both in Belgium and worldwide.


The start of the Duvel brand

The Duvel Moortgat brewery was founded in 1871 by Jan-Léonard Moortgat. It was originally known as Brouwerij Moortgat. It is a fourth-generation family brewery.

Today, the Duvel brand sells products in over 60 different countries. It wasn’t a quick rise to success, though. In fact, the family had been brewing for over 50 years before they launched the Duvel brand in 1923.

The brand first started making serious progress in 1914. The same year the war broke out, Albert’s brother Jozef, who had been running the brewery, died suddenly. With Albert’s father growing too old to manage the business, Duvel was in jeopardy of collapsing.

In response, Albert decided to take over the business, along with his brother Victor. At the tender age of 20, Albert stepped up and took control of production for the brand. Meanwhile, his brother controlled the marketing side of the business.


Finding the perfect strain of yeast

In 1918 during World War I, Albert Moortgat decided to take a trip to the United Kingdom in search of a new English yeast strain for the brand’s new beer. He found himself at a Scottish brewery on his trek, where he was given a yeast sample.

Moortgat realized right then and there that he had found what he was looking for. This Scottish strain of yeast is still used by the brand today.

In that same year of Albert’s trip, the brand put out its first beer. Victory Ale was the original name of the classic beer that would eventually become the face of Duvel.

Although Brouwerij Moortgat had been producing beer for more than 50 years, the Duvel brand did not emerge until 1923. The beer that would become Duvel was originally called Victory Ale, and it debuted in 1918 to celebrate the end of WWI.

In 1999, the brewery made waves in the alcohol industry by going public. They are one of the few publicly traded alcohol companies in the world.


The devil drinks beer

Over time, Duvel beer has earned the nickname of “the devil.” One day, a shoemaker coined this moniker, who tasted the beer at a tasting session and remarked that the beer was “a real devil.”

Since that moment, the name has stuck. And the brand has run with it. At the production facility in Belgium, a message is laid out in bold, red letters across the front of the building: “SSST… HIER RIJPT DEN DUVEL.” This translates roughly to “Shhh… Here rests the devil.”

It was a bit of a rebellious branding choice to embrace this name back then, as most people in the region near Duvel brewery were Catholic. Even monks were brewing beer at this time. However, the devil imagery could have played a role in the brand’s slow ascension.


Duvel: awards and recognition

In 2018, Duvel won a gold medal for “Pale & Amber Ale: Strong Blonde / Golden Ale” at the Brussels Beer Challenge. The Brussels Beer Challenge is an international competition comparing 1,522 beers from 48 countries.

That same year, Duvel has voted the best Belgian beer in the World Beer Awards in London. It also won the World’s Best Style award in the Pale Beer – Belgian Style Strong category.


Duvel’s activist efforts

Duvel has also proven that they are more than just an alcohol brand. Specifically, they’ve shown their commitment to the preservation of the environment.

Every week, the brewery purifies 7,500 cubic meters of water, equivalent to 1,981,290 U.S. gallons. That’s enough water to fill three Olympic swimming pools.

The brand also roofs all of its maturation facilities with solar panels. They can produce nearly two football fields’ worth of energy a day. They use this solar-powered energy to fuel their forklifts and trucks.

Most recently, Duvel joined an initiative with WeForest and Bos+ to plant enough trees to cover 750 football fields by the end of 2020.


The takeaway

Duvel has made a stamp in the beer world through their impeccable quality of products and their immense contributions to the community. They’ve impacted the beer community that they’ve become a household name even in America.

Few ales in the world can stand up to Duvel. In fact, there are few beers period that can match the quality of their product.

That bright, golden hue; that crisp, refreshing texture. This is what Duvel is known for. Many have imitated their style, but still, Duvel beer remains supreme.

It is made with extreme care, and its recipe has been refined for centuries. You simply can’t go wrong with this one. Next time you want something to sip on, try a Duvel beer.

For strong ales, whiskeys, and IPAs from Duvel, visit Saucey. We’re the premier alcohol delivery service in the United States, delivering to nearly every major city in the country.

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