Cistercian monks.

Rochefort Abbey.
Rochefort Abbey. (Great Beers of Belgium)
The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, like the Trappists are actually called, is known for their seclusion. It is possible to spend a period of reflection within the walls of an abbey, but penetrate into the private life of the monks is impossible. Just a restricted part of the monastery is open to the guest. The rest is declared out of bounds. Also the brewery is not accessible to the public. However, there are some internal differences: One abbey shall be more open to the outside world, and another shall stay very inaccessible. Rocheforts abbey belongs to the latter of these. Altough journalists are already received and the current abbot and brewer seem to be somewhat more tolerant when it comes to obtain information about the brewing process, the beers of Rochefort remain to some extent blanketed in mystery.

The monks way of living is strict: get up at 3 o'clock, don't eat meat, just talk when it's necessary and so on. Without a doubt, this way of life is reflected in the quality products, which are offered by the different communities, like cheese and beer. The trappist beers are without a doubt brews who have a very good reputation by the connoisseurs and are one of the finest jewels in the crown of the beer. Brewed in accordance with old recipes which are passed from brewer to brewer, they build up a quality group. A quality group of products who partly remains with the old, tradition style: strengthful, dark beers, with some sweet touches, but on the other hand makes room for an individual interpretation, with golden beers of different nature, but of high quality.

The scutcheon of Rochefort.
The scutcheon. (Great Beers of Belgium)
The monastic community of Rochefort:

There are still about fifteen monks. We intend to have heard somewhere that the average age lies rather high.