I've been doing a lot of reading about Trappist breweries and the beer they produce recently from the book 'Brew like a Monk' by Stan Hieronymus. This made me reminisce about the time I enjoyed a Westvleteren Blonde from the Westvleteren Trappist brewery and I then thought to myself why not give it a go and see what you can produce. So my journey to make a Belgian style blonde / trippel began and this post documents my story.

Like with all good stories it all started with a story from someone else. In this case it was:

I received this book for my birthday and have been busy devouring its every word since, and you know what it's like the book brings back memories about things that relate and for me it was the time I drank a Westvleteren blonde. This according to the book and several bits of anecdotal evidence that I have heard is what the locals drink and not the more famous '12' which was once voted the best beer in the world. As such I decided to take it upon myself to create my own version of this exceptional beer! Below I detail the ingredients and process I used to create what is currently fermenting in my kitchen cupboard. I hope you enjoy it and then try to brew it yourselves.

Extract

This is what I did as I don't currently have all grain capabilities. This kit from Northern Brewer mimics fairly closely the set up I have and comes with a kit to get you started!

Fermentables:
1lb of crushed rye malt
1lb of crushed wheat malt
16oz of light candi syrup (5 SRM)
5lbs of light pilsner dried malt extract

The malts were steeped at 155oF (68oC) for 30 mins in 3 gallons of filtered water. They were then removed and the heat was turned off before the candi syrup and dried malt extract was added. The liquid was then stirred to dissolve all of the solids before bringing up to boiling.

Kettle Hop additions (all pellets):
1oz of Nelson Sauvin was added at the start of boil (30 mins), 10 mins left of the boil and at flame out (heat is removed).

The kettle was then cooled to 155oF (68oC) and 1 oz of Motueka hops were added and then cooled to room temperature using a sink full of ice and cold water before transferring to a fermenter.

Due the the expected gravity I then pitched two packets of White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast and stirred the fermenter to ensure thorough mixing before installing a blow off tube incase the fermentation got out of hand. The original gravity I obtained was 1.090 which would work out at ~11% ABV!.

All Grain

Fermentables:
1lb 3.5oz of crushed rye malt
1lb 1.4oz of crushed wheat malt
16oz of light candi syrup (5 SRM)
6lbs 8.7oz of 2 row pale malt

The malts were mashed at 152oF (64oC) for 60 mins in 5 gal of water, and then mashed out at 168oF (76oC) for 10 mins. The mash was spared with 1 gal of water at 168oF as the wort is siphoned into the boil kettle.

Boil Schedule:
The wort is boiled for 60 mins with the candi syrup being added at 60 mins and the first hop addition of 1oz of Nelson Sauvin being added at 30 mins, then another 1oz with 10 mins to go and a further 1oz at flameout. 

The kettle was then cooled to 155oF (68oC) and 1 oz of Motueka hops were added and then cooled to room temperature using a sink full of ice and cold water before transferring to a fermenter.

Due the the expected gravity I would pitch two packets of White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast and stirred the fermenter to ensure thorough mixing before installing a blow off tube incase the fermentation gets out of hand. 

I hope you all enjoy this beer and let me know how it gets on. Also don't forget to use discount code CRAFTBEERADVOCATE at checkout for a 10% discount at www.grogtag.com for you fully customisable home-brew labels!

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