Westvleteren 12 attempt

The news of Westvleteren 12 coming to the states intrigued me, but not enough to pay $85 for a 6 pack! So, I decided to brew my own. I’m working off of the Brew like a Monk template, but I’m very interested in feedback from others who have brewed this. My recipe for 5 Gallons:

82% - 13.5 #’s Belgian Pilsner
9% - 1.5#’s Cane sugar
9% - 1.5#’s 180 candy sugar (This stuff -

1 oz Northern Brewer at 90
1 oz Styrian Goldings at 25

Yeast cake of Wyeast 3787 from a Dubbel - I’ll pitch at ~65 degrees and let it go from there

The specs should be around 1.091, 37 IBU’s, and very dark (30 SRM)

Your recipe looks good. I don’t think one pound of sugar will darken 5 gallons, and it takes a while to age. I did some experimenting when it first came out, and the beers came out more amber than Westy 12 color. I recently used a pound of American D1 and Belgian D1 syrups in a 4 gallon batch, and it came out nice, but still a little light. The D1 syrups seem to condition/mellow quicker, and I was able to drink my 9.5% Forbidden Fruit clone after 4 weeks. My Westy 12 clone with the dark syrup took 9 months to mellow out and my recipe was very similar to yours.

My recommendations: Use a 50/50 mix of D1 and D2 instead of white sugar or 2 Lbs D1 and a Lb of D2. Use 1/2 Lb of white sugar at bottling. I usually use 20 Lbs of Maris Otter, and 10 Lbs of German/Czeck pils malt in a 10 gallon batch. This will also give you a little more color. I think BLAM says they use a mix of pale malts, but no dark malt. Your beer will probably be too bitter for competition unless you can wait a year to enter it. Back off the hops if you want to enter it young. Westy 12 is more bitter than other commercial strong darks so stick with your bitterness if you want traditional.

Ferment cool for at least a week. I let the temp go up after a couple of days a few years ago, and ended up with a hot one. My last one spent 7 days cool, and then I let it go up into the high 70s/low 80s. It was much better and still has plenty of fruit character.

3787 makes a huge krausen. I put 3 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy, and it still comes close to the top. Split your batch between 2 carboys. If your yeast blows out the top, you will not have enough yeast to completely ferment the beer and it will come out way too sweet.

Use a tough English or American yeast to reyeast at bottling. This is when I add my white sugar. I usually have some 1968 around, and it is alcohol tolerant, and drops bright over time. If you are going to keg it, I would skip the white sugar, or just add a couple of ounces if you are going to keg condition it. I usually bottle my strong Belgians though because I don’t drink them all the time, and it ties up a keg for a long time. It is also interesting to see how the beer changes in the bottle.

Thanks for the feedback! I brewed yesterday and first impression is the color is definitely off. It’s dark, but you’re correct, I think it will turn out to be a deep amber.

I’m excited to see how this will turn out, but I won’t bottle for another month or so. I’ll post a response then with my perceptions, and perhaps a picture!


I hope your beer comes out well. It will darken a bit as it ages.