Brewing the Best Beer in the World (literally): Westvleteren XII Clone!



I visited Brussels last year and had the chance to try Westvleteren XII, brewed by the monks at the Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren. Never heard of the best beer in the world? Here’s some background. Unlike some very hyped beers here in the states, Westvleteren XII – a Belgian Quad – lives up to expectations. The problem is…outside of being in Belgium I will probably never have an opportunity to drink this outstanding beer. So what does a homebrewer do? Get the recipe and brew it yourself! Northern Brewer posted a clone recipe which I based my brew on.

White Labs Abbey Ale

White Labs Abbey Ale

Normally I don’t post recipes until I’ve had a chance to drink a few of the final product, but had to post this one after racking the beer to secondary and testing a sample. While the beer needs to age for 3 months in the carboy, the flavors are already out of this world. Over the next three months the flavors should blend and become more complex, which should allow me to bottle and give some as gifts. This is a beer meant to be sipped, since my gravity readings show an 11.5% ABV (yikes)!

Mashing In

Mashing In

A couple notes on the recipe: mash at 149 for 60 minutes; you will want to make a yeast starter given the OG of this beer, the Abbey Ale yeast will work pretty hard to cut through those sugars.

SecondarySo – whether you have tried Westvleteren XII or not, if you take the time to carefully brew this one, you will not be sorry!



Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 34.7 IBUs 28.6 SRM 1.103 1.014 11.9 %
Actuals 1.098 1.01 11.7 %


Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Bel 9 lbs 47.37
Pale Malt (2 Row) UK 7 lbs 36.84
Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 8 oz 2.63
Candi Syrup, D-180 2 lbs 10.53
Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 8 oz 2.63


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Brewer's Gold 0.75 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 9.5
Hallertau 1 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 3.8
Styrian Golding (Savinja Golding) 1 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 3.7


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Abbey Ale (WLP530) White Labs 78% 66°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 149°F 60 min




Add a Comment
  1. how did this turn out? brew like a monk and other clones have this at 1.090 OG

    1. Mike – it turned out great overall – but a bit hot (high ABV). Overall a great recipe,but next time I will reduce the table sugar amount.

  2. Hi – do you mash the sugars as well, or add them before flame-out?

    1. I just added before flameout. I may reduce the amount of sugar the next time to lower the ABV a bit.

  3. Is this twice the same table sugar at flame out or something else?

    1. I added half at flameout to bump up the OG (took measurements throughout the boil). You could add it all at any point though.

  4. Christer Amundsen

    I was planning on brewing this one, and i noticed that you suggested to lower the amoung of sugar due to high abv….what ended i up at?

  5. Christer Amundsen

    Sorry….i just found it above….must learn how to read better next time…

  6. Had this in bottles for over a year and entered it in the MN State Fair Homebrew contest. It took 3rd place in Belgian Strong Dark Ales.

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