In our ongoing Thursday night father and son beer review campaign, we ventured into Belgium to have a visit with the star in the Bieres de Chimay lineup. Chimay Bleue, or Chimay Grand Reserve, is a 9% ABV treat. Always a good go-to beer, it ventures in a much different direction from many of the other top rated beers on our site. Namely it’s less about the coffee and chocolate and more about the dark fruits. Possibly one of the best balanced beers we’ve had, it’s a nice change of pace.
We served ours up in a goblet and our 11.2 ounces of goodness came in at 53.1 F. The pour gave us an average 1″ fizzy light brown head that dissipated quickly and left very little head lacing. It has little carbonation and the body is a murky ruby/copper brown.
The initial aromas – and there are a lot of them – are hay, toasted, toffee, yeast, alcohol, black currant, brown sugar, bubble gum, cola, plum, port, prune, raisin, spices and a host of other unidentified dark fruits. This is a top smelling beer.
Though the smells are great, the taste is what makes this beer such a treat. Not quite as numerous as the aromas, you pull some nice notes – alcohol, cola and loads of the dark fruits. There’s also a possible hint of bittersweet chocolate. The initial flavor hits you with a heavy sweet and a light bitter and evolves in the finish to a moderate sweet with a moderate bitter. The finish clings to your mouth and lasts a long time and the mouthfeel is quite creamy. There is virtually no body lacing as you drink, proving that it doesn’t have to lace well to be a top beer. On the malt to hop scale it comes in about a 4 out of 9 – just to the left of balanced on the malty side.
Though it’s not repeatable (we couldn’t drink another one due to the alcohol level, though we’d be willing to try, you know, for science), it is quite drinkable, quite memorable, sports a great wow factor due to it’s complexity, has balance, has harmony and we would of course buy it again.
This is ultimately a very drinkable beer – so very complex with so much balance to it. The dark fruits jump at you and you get the alcohol notes pretty well. It’s so complex that it’s hard to isolate all that’s going on and pull it all out. Eventually you’ll get tired of trying and just sit back and enjoy it. As with other good beers, 11.2 oz just isn’t quite enough – those other 0.8 oz would be nice. It’s refermented in the bottle and we think the well water the abbey uses for the beer is probably a big difference maker in the solid rating we gave it. It is said that Chimay Blue can be aged for upwards of fifteen years.
Drinking this out of a goblet feels like drinking from a holy grail in the 3rd Indiana Jones film, and knowing you choose wisely.
Chimay Blue Rating: 9 out of 10 (?)
6 Comments (Add Your Comments)
Want The BeerFathers Email Updates?
Enter your email address and you'll get an email every time we post a new entry (usually a few times a week):