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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bottling Westbennetteren 12

The Unique bottle collection
Six long months after brewing up my tribute to Westvleteren 12 (Commonly known as Westy 12), which I called Westbennetteren 12, I finally got around to bottling it up.

The process started a few weeks back when I transferred the Westbennetteren 12 out of its long secondary and into a keg to make room in my fermenting cube for Coast of the Sun.  I flushed the keg CO2 and just kept a blanket on top to keep it Oxygen free.  I did nip on it a little while it was on tap and shared it with some friends.  I also did a small side by side with a Westvleteren 12 when I popped Eric Addison's Westy 12 cherry (something I've been known to do more than once).

As you may know when I brew a beer with the intent to bottle I always design a label, this time however a label would not have been appropriate for the tribute I was doing.  Currently Westvleteren does not label their beer. The only differentiation that separates the three beers they produce is a colored bottle cap.  So to do this right I needed to create a bottle cap for it.  Fortunately for me, these days there is a solution for that.

Tribute cap to a Tribute beer
A while back I read an article about a company called BottleMark.  BottleMark is this cool company in Houston that was started by a homebrewer who had too many different batches in the fridge at once. He realize that if he could do a low run bottle cap he could tell them apart so he came up with a way to print artwork on a white bottle cap. A bunch of my friends had given them a try and were very pleased with the results.  With a low 11¢ per cap price (now 12¢) I figured this would be the prefect opportunity to try them out. So while the Westbennetteren 12 was chillin in secondary I designed some artwork for a run of bottle caps. The shipping was extremely fast and I was very pleased with results.  I also created a couple of other caps using this order as the prefect test opportunity for other bottle cap ideas I had.

Homebrewed Quad in a Westy 12 Bottle
Gotta love it
I picked up a couple of new cases of 12 oz tall bottles (the Sierra Nevada short stubbies won't have worked) and found 6 special unique bottles for friends. The prefect bottle to have found would have been a couple of cases of New Belgium 12s.  My preferred method for prepping bottles for beer is to sterilize them (several notches above sanitizing imo) via dry heat.  Following Palmer's chapter on the subject I rinsed them and loaded my oven. As Palmer states I loaded the bottles with the oven cold and brought it up to 350, I held that for 60 minutes then killed the oven and let the bottles cool overnight.  I topped all the bottles with foil to keep them sterilized indefinitely until needed.

When it came to bottling day I primed the beer with Simplicity as recommended by the recipe (not recommend was added 3 more oz then I needed) and a fresh vial of WLP530.  I stirred with a sanitized spoon as well as shook and rocked the keg to make sure it was properly combined.  I filled the bottles using my BeerGun at very low pressure.  There was no need to chill the bottles as the beer as still. I then capped them with a sanitized bottle cap.

From here is another five to six months of bottle conditioning.  The first bottle will be cracked when Shawn, Daniel and I do our Quad night sometime in November/December.

Cheers

-SNB


Pictures

Transferring to the keg
Rinsing the bottles
The bottle pyramid
Priming agents
Ready to rock
The printed caps
Capped in a trappist bottle
Filled for friends, I can see Daniel and Shawn's from here
Just about 2 cases of Quad

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