I chose to go big for my lucky 13th batch. This to date is my single-most-expensive batch of homebrew. Coming in at over $80 of ingredients, this dark and mysterious beer is worth every. fucking. cent. Around this time in my brewing history I was reading through much of /r/homebrewing and as is usual on these types of forums, certain beers become trendy and establish a fervent cult following. While this beer already had its own esoteric zealots, this particular internet community was entranced with this beer. One of the couple beers that consistently receives a 100 point rating, Westvleteren 12 (Westy 12 for short) is brewed by Trappist monks at the Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren).
There are only 6 legally Belgian “Trappist” monasteries, some more well-known labels include Chimay, Orval, and Westmalle, of which Westvleteren is one. Here is the Trappist wikipedia page if you want to learn more (in summation it’s monks brewing beer with some monks creating an elite club of monks). Westy 12 was notoriously difficult to obtain due to the beer originally only ever being sold at the monastery, and even then in limited quantities. However a couple years ago, the monastery opened up sales to the US, I believe to help fund some renovations to their monastery. This recipe is an amazing clone that I believe, in agreement with brewing compadre Justin Zuccarelli, is actually better than the real beer. Take that you monks.
4oz Special B
1.25oz Fuggle (4.4%AA) @ 60min
.25oz Fuggle (4.4%AA) @15min
.25oz Hallertau (3.9%AA) @15min
.25oz Fuggle (4.4%AA) @1min
.25oz Hallertau (3.9%AA) @1min
13lbs Light LME
1lb Belgian Dark Candi Syrup
.25lb Dark Candi Sugar
White Labs Abbey Ale Yeast (WLP530) x2
3.1oz Priming Sugar
*I first want to say that I did not create this recipe, I believe I found it here. Otherwise, I will take credit for everything else. Thank you.
**I wrote a lot more about this beer that was apparently lost in the shuffle of transitioning to a new website. I hope one day to revisit this beer and how it compared to the actual Westvleteren.
Notes from Christmas 2018:
Aroma of caramel and chocolate, prune, with a little roastiness. Flavors of Toffee, caramel, slightly bitter chocolate, and prune. Barely sweet. Lightly carbonated with tiny bubbles. Small bit of oxidation. Dark brown color