Duvel – Belgian devil in a bottle

Duvel – one of the most famous Belgian beers, brewed in a fairly time-consuming production process.


Duvel logo


Belgian Duvel – one of the most recognizable beers of the world.

Duvel (in dialect of Flanders this word means: Devil) is strong pale ale with an alcohol content 8,5% abv.
Brewed at brewery Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat based in Flanders Breendonk (Belgium) is exported to more than forty countries in the world.
Interesting is the story of the creation of this beer and equally interesting process of its brewing.


The founder of this brewery was in 1871 Jan-Leonard Moortgat – until now successive generations of this family driven company.
Moortgat developed taking over another brands, but always caring about the high quality of produced beers.
Today, the group Duvel Moortgat includes such brands as: Vedett, Maredsous, Achouffe, De Koninck, Liefmans, Ommegang, Boulevard, Bernard and Bel Pils.
However, flagship beer remains constantly Duvel.


Unusual bouquet of flavour the beer owes carefully selected varieties of hops and special yeast strains.
As we can read on the website of brewery: in the 1920s, Victor Moortgat personally purchased in Scotland strains of yeast that are used to produce Duvel until today.

However, the famous beer expert Michael Jackson cites a slightly different story, one must admit a bit more colorful and adventurous.
Well, after World War I the brewery worked closely with one of the world’s great brewing scientists, a Belgian, Jean De Clerck.
At that time in Belgium were very famous and fashionable British beers.
Scottish brewery McEwans exported here their ales conditioned in bottles and just this beer chosen as the object of his research – Jean De Clerck.

Delighted by yeast-fruity taste of scotch ale he retrieved samples of yeast (one could say – “stole”) from bottles of McEwans and handed over strains to brew a dark ale at the brewery in Breendonk.
According to the legend, one of the workers of the brewery when he tasted the newly brewed beer, said: “That is the devil of a brew!”.

Such were the beginnings of today’s Duvel, which was then a dark ale.

After the Second World War in Belgium become popular pilsner lagers and each of the breweries wanted to have such a beer in their offer.
Moortgat Brewery followed a slightly different path – they decided to create a golden version of its Duvel. But still it had to be a strong ale refermented in bottles.

And in this way, in 1970, the gold version of Duvel replaced the dark and so began the road to fame of this remarkable beer. Beer, which is famous from its unusual bouquet of aromas and flavours.


Duvel Moortgat Brewery

photo: http://www.duvel.com/


In order to most intensify this bouquet, until today is used quite time-consuming brewing process, which is unique among beers with such mass production. Brewing time of Duvel is in fact 90 days.

First five days barley sprouts in malthouse giving rise to the malt – basic component of every beer, next to the water, obviously, coming indeed from their own well. It is used here Pilsner malt.

In the brewing process are used Saaz and Styrian Goldings hops.
About yeast I mentioned above – are still the same for nearly a century.

The main fermentation takes place in tanks at 20-26°C and takes 5-6 days.
Then the wort is cooled and fermentation continues at a low temperature for 1-2 days.

The first aging step at -2ºC takes three weeks.

These processes: brewing, the first fermentation and the first maturation lasts a total of about 30 days.
After them follows a step of bottling.
To the bottled beer is added sugar and yeast and moves them for two weeks for further maturing in 24ºC.

After this maturation in warm, bottles are then aged for 6 weeks in cold cellars in 4ºC.

As we can see the maturation process takes place alternately in cold temperatures (such as lagers) and in warm (as ales).
All together ultimately makes Duvel so unique.


I suggest now watch a short film called “Duvel – brewing process”. It keeps you in suspense like a real action movie.



It should also be mentioned that designed a special glass to drink Duvel.
It is intended to featuring maximum values of beer (and a golden inscription is exactly on the border of beer and foam).


Duvel glass

photo: http://www.duvel.com/

Unfortunately I do not have the original Duvel glass (yet), but impatience prevails – I want to quickly share with you my own impressions from tasting this beer-legend.
Thus, to the point.


Name: DUVEL (Belgian Strong Ale, 8,5% ABV)
Brewery: Brouverij Duvel Moortgat (Breendonk, Belgium)

Expiration date: 06/2017

Duvel beer
Duvel labels


test-look-small Light golden color.
Beer is cloudy,
additional opacity derived from lees of yeasts from the bottom of bottle.
White high foam, durable, only a little bit punctures.
test-sniff-small In aroma is present malt, hops, fruits.
Additional notes slightly vine.
Aroma reminds wheat beer.
test-drink-small Flavour, like aroma, mainly malty-hoppy.
Next are fruits, spices (coriander, cloves).
Caramel sweetness, slightly sour. Clear notes of yeast.
Alcohol virtually undetectable.
Bitterness at the first moment doesn’t seem intense,
however, after swallowing is decidedly bitter aftertaste and later bitterness accompanied us until the end.
It has character of grapefruit, citrus zest.
Carbonation rather high.


Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, it looks like Duvel hits in my taste. I’m really taste this beer.

Really rich palette of aromas and flavours. We have here components typical for wheat beer: are present notes of spices so characteristic for Weissbier (coriander, cloves), are fruits (citruses, but also can be traced banana notes), clear notes of yeast.
And these components are combined perfectly with the flavours typical for ales: malt, hops, and crisp, intense citrus bitterness.

This beer is delicious and extremely drinkable, but I advise you to be careful. Alcohol is well hidden, but 8.5% is doing its work, because the pleasure of drinking Duvel need to dispense reasonably.

Definitely Belgian devil goes to the list of my favourite beers.




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