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Author Topic: Monks who make world's best beer have a message  (Read 7638 times)
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Trappist
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« on: August 19, 2009, 12:53:05 PM »

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2005-10-03-beer-usat_x.htm

The message from the monks is clear:


"My message is, people should know that the beer arrives there in a very un-Trappist-like way," he says. "It's the result of a lot of maneuvering in the dark before it actually shows up there."

Such underhanded tactics go against the Benedictine values under which the monks work. The St. Sixtus abbey also has no way of vouching for the quality of the beer, which is sensitive to temperature and light, when it arrives. Nor are they insured to export beer to the United States.

"I would advise your readers not to ask for or buy Westvleteren," he says. "You do not support the Trappist cause by buying Westvleteren in the United States. So if you want to support the Trappist cause, you drink one from the other six (breweries), which are legally imported."



BTW: Quote: "The Westvleteren 12 is a strong, dark beer with a 12% alcohol content"
To be correct, Westy 12 is 10.2 vol%.

Cheers,
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Viv Barber
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 06:17:35 PM »

Hi Filip,

What a picture!  thumb up

It gives me a huge desire to drink a beer, especially with the gorgeous weather outside of around 29C.   beersign

Maybe a long glass of a blonde, and lighter beer rather than a Westy 12?  beer2

Interesting points the Monks' make, and they are right that travelling could well, and surely does, affect the taste of their products.   Embarrassed
They do however seem intent on what happens to their products after they have been sold. If I use my hoover to knock the apples from my tree rather than cleaning the house that is my prerogative! It's a bit like some of the car manufacturers who are specifying what to do once you have bought their cars, eg driving at certain speeds only, etc.  The Monks do produce a world-class product, and are right to ensure that it is properly represented though. The "other six" obviously refers to the other Trappists......   


The Westy 12 used to be 10.8%, and I think that it was lowered to the current 10.2% some time around 2001. Anyway Filip, I am sure that you will be able to provide us with the exact date!!!


Cheers!



Viv

 


 
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Viv Barber
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 10:32:31 PM »

The Westy 12 used to be 10.8%, and I think that it was lowered to the current 10.2% some time around 2001. Anyway Filip, I am sure that you will be able to provide us with the exact date!!!
Yes ofcourse !
Trappist Westvleteren 12 has been lowered from 11 vol% towards 10.2 vol%. A slow process.
In 1999 they lowered from 11 towards 10.8 vol%
Mid 2001 they lowered from 10.8 towards 10.6 to become 10.2 vol% in 2002. A three years operation !!
Not many batches with the mentioning 10.6 vol% were brewed.


That's why this 10.6 vol% cap is so sought after.

But still, this doesn't mean the beer was less strong.
New legislation allows a tolerance of error of 1%. By declaring 10.8% on the crown corks, it was felt that this could result in an over estimation of the alcohol content, so it was thought more honest to declare only 10.2%.
Other rumours will say that the alcohol% actually did change to lower, and this because Westmalle yeast was introduced around 1999. The Westmalle yeast should have less power to generate high alcohol !

Here's a great shot taken by John White !



It shows the evolution of the alc% on the Westy 12 caps. According the best before date, one can generate it's bottling date. Example: BBD 17 07 04 = Bottled in July 2001



Cheers,

« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 10:50:04 PM by Trappist » Logged

Viv Barber
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2009, 06:06:21 PM »

Hi Filip,

Excellent collection of bottles tops from Westys both past and present.  More comprehensive than mine.....

I have noticed that not all the tops get stamped, so probably the stamps are randomly done with maybe just a few in each crate/case? They wouldn't expect them to be spilt up, as they are supposedly/allegedly for personal use only, so there is no reason to stamp each and every one I suppose?

The rumour mill has been very active by the sound of it. We all want the facts!


Anyway, cheers!


Viv



 





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Viv Barber
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 10:19:10 AM »

I have noticed that not all the tops get stamped, so probably the stamps are randomly done with maybe just a few in each crate/case? They wouldn't expect them to be spilt up, as they are supposedly/allegedly for personal use only, so there is no reason to stamp each and every one I suppose?
Viv,
You made me walking to the cellar to look at my Westvleteren crates (my wifes calls me crazy Wink).
Every single cap has a stamp !
But when you carefully look at John White's Westy caps collection, you will notice that only the older caps have no stamps.
The oldest cap with stamp has the date 1996. So, bottled in 1993.
You must know that the nineties were a turbulent period at the Saint-Sixtus abbey.
First, there was the inauguration of the brand new "automatic" brewing room. This happened in August of 1990.
It is much possible that at the beginning of the nineties, the stamps on the crown cork were introduced.
Also interesting to mention that in 1992 the long contract (started just after WWII) between bry. Sint-Bernardus and the abbey was discontinued. So, bry. Sint-Bernardus had to remove the name Trappist - Sint-Sixtus on their labels - glasses. Even the monk on the label became dressed as non-monk. The Sint-Bernardus beers became abbey beers, and a blond tripel was introduced. Be aware, the actual change happened in 1997, and this after a judgement measure.
In 1999 the blond Westvleteren 5.8 vol% was introduced, and this due to the opening of the brand new café In De Vrede.



The old In De Vrede was demolished because the monks wanted more silence next to their abbey. In fact the old Café In De Vrede was located just opposite the street. Too close to the abbey.The new café is located much further away.
Now, don't think that this is the monks first blond beer. No, they also used to brew a 4 vol% blond beer (the Dubbel), their ever first brew by the way. An evolution from 2vol% towards 3.3 vol% towards the final 4 vol%. Double (dubbel) strength ! You see, "dubbel" doesn't mean a dark beer. A historic proven fact with this article!


Label of Dubbel at 4 vol% - Green color means blond beer !

A low alcohol beer that was commercialized till 1983, carrying green crown corks after '45 !! After 1983 the beer can be called "refterbier" only, because it was only drunk during the monk's meal. Yes, the 1999 introduced 5.8 vol% Westvleteren Blond has also a green cap these days, and is also used as "refterbier".
The 4 vol% blond "refterbier" is brewed till 1990, and this till the new brewing room was used. The new brewing room was too big to brew the small amount of 4° Trappist. Also, in 1999, the dark 6vol% Trappist (red cap) was discontinued in favour of the new Blond Trappist at 5.8vol%. I presume that the monk's "refterbier" between 1990 and 1999 should have been the 6vol% dark beer. Am I correct ?

Anyway, great evolutions during the nineties...



Cheers,
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 10:35:44 PM by Trappist » Logged

Viv Barber
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 11:25:22 AM »

Hi Filip,

The pictures just get better!   thumb up

 The Westy 12 just looks SO appetising. It is only 10.20am so it is far too early to be thinking about alcohol!   adfundum1 adfundum2 beer2

 I am not an alcoholic.   Huh?

I have just looked again at the Westys ( all 3 varieties ) I have left from my purchase earlier in the year. Only 11 bottles left now, and just 3 have the date stamped on!
Is this weird, or the norm? I have found that the beers in UK dont always have the date stamped on for whatever reason.

Fantastic history about the Westy and St.Bernardus breweries again from Filip. Excellent!   thumb up

Cheers!


Viv
 



 

 
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Viv Barber
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 12:32:41 PM »

Hi Filip,

The pictures just get better!   thumb up

 The Westy 12 just looks SO appetising. It is only 10.20am so it is far too early to be thinking about alcohol!   adfundum1 adfundum2 beer2

 I am not an alcoholic.   Huh?

I have just looked again at the Westys ( all 3 varieties ) I have left from my purchase earlier in the year. Only 11 bottles left now, and just 3 have the date stamped on!
Is this weird, or the norm? I have found that the beers in UK dont always have the date stamped on for whatever reason.

Fantastic history about the Westy and St.Bernardus breweries again from Filip. Excellent!   thumb up

Cheers!


Viv
Thanks Viv,
Although it seems that the best time to savour a beer is at 11am ! That is because our taste buds are in optimal shape that time of the day.
Viv, the pictures become better and better.
Here some shots I just made inside part of my cellar.
It shows my cases of Westy 12.
You can clearly see that all crown corks are stamped with a best before date.
I think your case is extremely weird.
Either the stamps did get wiped out during the transport, or either there must have been a malfunction with the printing machine.









The first picture also shows some rare 10.6 vol% bottles. The two bottles completely on top left side.
Notice that the color of the cap was more yellow. These days the caps are more golden colored.
The origin of the yellow color is a reflection of the original yellow labels, which are not used anymore since 1945, when The brewery became non-commercial. Commercial activities were moved to bry. Sint-Bernardus, remember.
The exact reason why the commercial activities stopped just after WWII is a 'public' mystery  Shocked
Because the commercial spirit disappeared after WWII, the labels were discontinued. According the monks, the labels were "Hidden Persuaders", to attract customers, which is what the monks didn't want -- ofcourse.
So, the colors of the caps were the colors of the bottle labels.


                                               Pre-1945 Westvleteren 75cl. bottles

Cheers,
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 12:36:51 PM by Trappist » Logged

Viv Barber
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 07:25:17 PM »

Hi Filip,

Even more great pictures!   thumb up

Now you are just showing off!!!! Ha ha!!   Wink

I looked again and none of the 3 Blondes(6) have a stamp, but 1 of the 4 Abbotts(12) does have a stamp, and all 4 of the Extras(Cool have stamps. They must all have come from different batches, and I have already drank the rest, and some had stamps and some didn't........hohum..   Shocked

My current stock includes almost 100 bottles, but of course there are many many different ones, with a maximum of 4 bottles for a few beers.

Westy 6, 8 & 12, Rochefort 6, 8 & 10, Westmalle Triple, Achel Extra Brune, St.Bernardus Abbott, Orval, Hopsinjoor, Chouffe Houblon IPA, La Chouffe, McChouffe, Hopus, Straffe Hendrik Triple, Malheur 6 & 10, Deus, Bush de Nuits, La Penneffoise, Gulden Draak, Triple Karmeliet, Bush Amber 12 & Noel, Maredsous 6, 8 & 10, etc, etc,etc...............................!   Belgiumflag


ALL strictly for RESEARCH purposes of course!!!    beersign     chin


 
Cheers!


Viv





 
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Viv Barber
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2009, 10:34:36 AM »

Westy 6, 8 & 12, Rochefort 6, 8 & 10
I always wondered why the Trappist Westvleteren 12 and Rochefort 10 have different numbers.

  • Westy 12: Maximum of 11 vol% (10.2 vol% to be correct).
  • Rochefort 10: 11.3 vol%



It's clear that Trappist Rochefort 10 has always been stronger than the Westy 12. Why this discrepancy between 10 and 12 ?
Cheers,
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2011, 12:26:15 PM »

For the inauguration of its new online shop, Anthony Martin has pulled out all the stops. You’ll find all the beers from the Finest Beer Selection there, of course, but there are also some great gift packs and numerous collector’s items. In short, there’s something to tickle any beer fan’s fancy. Better still, if you’re a member of the Finest Club, you receive one point for every euro you spend. You can then exchange your points at the Finest Shop for discounts off your next order. What’s more, a running total of your points is kept from order to order. When your total reaches a certain level, you’ll receive a superb gift. So don’t wait: if you’re not already a member, join the Finest Club for free right now, take advantage of the Finest Shop’s promotions and receive numerous benefits (gifts, tickets to events, competitions, recipes, etc.). And remember that Finest Shop is the perfect place for Christmas present ideas!

Here’s where to find the Finest Shop:
www.finestshop.be
www.finestclub.be/avantages
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glennbeermagician
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2011, 09:01:16 PM »

They don't want it to be exported but are going to export themselves by making boxes??!! They are full of shit. Never had any complains about the westy 12 that i exported to the States. You have to let it settle in a cool dark room for a few days before drinking. I'm lucky to live in Belgium but even for us it is very difficult to get this beer. If you guys are interested i have some stock of westy 12. You can reach me at glenn.sanna@telenet.be

Kind regards
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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2013, 03:59:55 PM »

 Grin what,s all the fuss westie is hardly a world class beer just because some readers of a beer magazine voted it so,their are many better beers out there,unfortunately some beer sellers exploited this and started charging over inflated prices for a very average beer Belgiumflag
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Trappist
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2013, 10:01:26 AM »

Grin what,s all the fuss westie is hardly a world class beer just because some readers of a beer magazine voted it so,their are many better beers out there,unfortunately some beer sellers exploited this and started charging over inflated prices for a very average beer Belgiumflag
Call it the 'holy' art of 'demand and offer' Lambiscus  Belgiumflag
Cheers,
Filip
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