Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) - Bières de Chimay S.A.
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Ratings: 5,540 | Reviews: 2,119 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Pahn:
4.63/5 rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
750ml bottle into Chimay chalice (why not?). Bottled June, 2008 according to the cork (it's March 2010 now if you can't read the posted on date of the review).
Chimay Blue was actually my eye-opener craft beer. I've neglected it for several years (if I get Chimay, I go for Chimay White personally). Time to go back and see if my "beginner's palate" missed anything.
Appearance: Moderate pour yields a half inch, fizzy and pillowy off-white head that dissipates slowly into an active, bubbling mound in the middle and around the surface of the beer. Neither head nor the beer leave much lacing. Pours a deep, deep ruby that's almost opaque, with visible bubbles rising in the middle and some sediment floating around even in the first glass.
Smell: Belgian yeast, raisin, plum, grape, clove, some floral character, and a tiny hint of earthy funk. Aroma shifts more towards woodsy grassiness and grape as the beer warms.
Taste: first sip: deliciously deep rush of sweet raisin and plum, transitioning to a big note of Belgian yeast, then moving to a deepening of flavor too big and fast for me to keep up and identify it all. Overall impression is that it's fruity, spicy and smooth. Finishes a little dry, with some warming alcohol present from early on in the glass. There's a smooth, almost chewy hit of roasted malt like a good stout in the transition from the huge carbonation in the middle to the slightly bitter end. Chocolate notes come out as the beer warms.
All the elements from the nose are present in the beer, along with dozens of other random good flavors lurking around and popping up from sip to sip. While each sip is different, each sip is also balanced. Sometimes it's a complex rush of equally strong dark fruit notes and clove, sometimes it's just straight plum to Belgian yeast to roasted malt, but the flavors are always harmonious and complement each other.
Mouthfeel: A beautiful, medium-bodied combo of creamy and juicy. Very carbonated.
Drinkability: Great beer to sit down and savor. I'd imagine it pairs well with some Chimay cheese. Alcohol is present but not overpowering, though it doesn't really matter; 1 350ml or 750ml bottle is enough.
My last impression of Chimay Blue before I stopped drinking it was "Annoying, way too fruity, overcarbonated mess." I guess I have changed a bit since then, because Chimay Blue is world class. I think the carbonation, dryness, and deep dark flavors were probably a bit too much for me when I first started getting into beer. Whether I've changed or misremembered or whatever, I love it now. It's one of those all too few beers that gives you some crazy, novel combination of flavors in every sip, each one interesting, palate-pleasing, and satisfying--with real *character* in all 4 of the objective BA rating categories. It's probably time to put Chimay back into regular rotation for me.
Serving type: bottle
03-28-2010 04:27:02 | More by Pahn
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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
96 out of 100 based on 5,540 ratings.